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The battle for Premier League survival is now down to two teams after Everton secured their top-flight status on Thursday night, and of those two teams it is Burnley who enter the final day in the strongest position.
The equation for Jackson’s men is simple: match or better Leeds’ score, and they will enjoy a seventh successive season in the top flight next term. Burnley’s vastly superior goal difference over Leeds means that a win over Newcastle would be enough, regardless of what Jesse Marsch‘s side do away to Brentford.
However, there is only goal difference separating the two sides either side of the dreaded dotted line, so any failure by Burnley to win would open the door for Leeds to leapfrog them at the final hurdle.
It is a precarious situation, then, and one that Burnley so nearly avoided during Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa, when Ashley Barnes gave them the lead from the spot only for Emiliano Buendia to earn the hosts a point at Villa Park.
Should Burnley end up going down then they will look back on Wout Weghorst‘s late missed chance in that match – or more accurately, Tyrone Mings‘s remarkable goalline block – as a particularly costly moment.
Burnley’s survival bid has not been helped by their lengthy end-of-season absentee list, with as many as seven players possibly missing this crucial match.
There were no new injury concerns from the draw with Villa, but Matthew Lowton was shown a controversial red card which will rule him out of this contest.
That further limits Jackson’s defensive options, with Erik Pieters a long-term absentee and Ben Mee unlikely to recover in time for a possible Turf Moor farewell.
Mee does have the option to extend his expiring contract by a further year, but it looks increasingly likely to be a Burnley goodbye for his centre-back partner James Tarkowski, who is also out of contract in the summer.
Tarkowski returned from injury last time out and should captain the side again, while Dale Stephens was also back on the bench for the Aston Villa clash.
Jay Rodriguez is the next most likely of the injury list to return for this game, rated at 50-50 by Jackson, but Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Ashley Westwood and Matej Vydra remain sidelined.
Barnes is expected to lead the line again ahead of Weghorst and alongside Maxwel Cornet, the latter of whom is Burnley’s top-scorer at Turf Moor this season but reportedly has a relegation release clause in his contract.
The futures of many players will become clearer depending on Burnley’s fate, but alongside Tarkowski and Mee, Barnes, Jack Cork, Vydra, Stephens, Aaron Lennon, Pieters and Phil Bardsley are all currently due to be out of contract this summer.
Newcastle’s out-of-contract list is significantly shorter – Sean Longstaff the only permanent player who is due to leave this summer as things stand – but their injury list is even longer than that of their hosts.
Chris Wood, who swapped Turf Moor for St James’ Park in January, will undergo a late fitness test with Howe hopeful that he will be ready, while a late decision will also be made on Fabian Schar due to concussion protocols after he came off against Arsenal.
Kieran Trippier was back on the bench for that match and could come into the starting XI for this one, taking the place of Emil Krafth.
However, Howe described that performance as the best of his reign so far, so other changes may be kept to a minimum.
Ryan Fraser is doubtful due to a tight hamstring, Javi Manquillo has chickenpox and Jonjo Shelvey, Joe Willock and Jamal Lewis are all definitely out for this game.
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Callum Wilson is expected to lead the line again after causing Arsenal problems last time out, and he should be joined in the front three by Allan Saint-Maximin, who has been linked with a move away this summer.
No player has been directly involved in more Premier League goals for Newcastle than Saint-Maximin this season, although January arrival Bruno Guimaraes is closing in on that figure following his fifth for the club against Arsenal.
Burnley possible starting lineup:
Pope; Collins, Tarkowski, Long; Roberts, Brownhill, Cork, McNeil, Taylor; Cornet, Barnes
Newcastle United possible starting lineup:
Dubravka; Trippier, Lascelles, Burn, Targett; Longstaff, Guimaraes, Joelinton; Almiron, Wilson, Saint-Maximin