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Opposition Lowdown: Promoted Burnley Hunting Down 106 Record

Recently promoted Burnley make the trip to Berkshire this weekend as they look to close in on Reading’s 106 points record. Join us as we take a look at the opposition.

Burnley v Reading - Sky Bet Championship - Turf Moor Photo by Tim Markland/PA Images via Getty Images


Burnley were relegated from the Premier League last season after finishing in 18th place in the division, three points from safety. Relegation ended the Clarets’ six-year stay in the top flight, where they reached their peak in 2017/18, finishing seventh.

However, they have secured a return to the top flight at the first attempt, with their recent 2-1 win at Middlesbrough sealing promotion. They sit in first place on 90 points and can still beat Reading’s record 106-point haul in their final six games.

They have only lost two matches so far this season, with those defeats coming away from home: at Watford in August and Sheffield United in November, which means The Clarets are currently on a 20-match unbeaten run in the league.

The two sides faced each other last October with Burnley beating Reading 2-1 at Turf Moor after goals from Benson Manuel and Anass Zaroury, who scored a 94th-minute winner.

The boss

Vincent Kompany: Kompany took over as Burnley manager in June last year, replacing caretaker boss Mike Jackson, who was unable to save them from relegation, following the sacking of popular manager Sean Dyche.

Kompany started his managerial career in 2020 at Belgian club Anderlecht, the club where he started his playing career. He guided the side to two consecutive third-place finishes, before leaving the club by mutual consent in May last year.

Kompany is no stranger to English football, having played for Man City for 11 seasons, captaining the club and winning four Premier League titles. Kompany has always been a leader both on and off the pitch, having captained both Man City and Belgium.

He likes his sides to press from the front and force the opposition into playing long balls.

Manchester City v Reading - FA Cup 6th Round Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images


After signing 16 players in the summer, Burnley further supplemented their squad in January, signing an additional four players. Defenders Ameen Al-Dakhil and Hjalmar Ekdal signed on permanent deals from Belgian side Sint-Truidense and Swedish club Djurgardens IF, while striker Lyle Foster also joined from KVC Westerlo. The Clarets also brought in forward Michael Obafemi from Swansea, initially on loan until the end of the season, with a view to a permanent move in the summer.

Midfielder Josh Brownhill is a doubt for this weekend’s game after injuring his ankle in Burnley’s last game with Sheffield United. However, Moroccan midfielder Anass Zaroury and striker Jay Rodriguez may both return in time for Saturday’s game.

Expected line-up

Muric, Roberts, Harwood-Bellis, Beyer, Maatsen, Cullen, Gudmundsson, Brownhill, Tella, Manuel, Barnes

Key player

Nathan Tella: Winger Tella joined Burnley on a season-long loan from Southampton last summer. The 23-year-old started his career with Arsenal, spending 10 years at the club, before joining the Southampton youth setup in 2017. He made his Saints debut in 2020 and has gone on to make 41 appearances for the club, scoring two goals.

He has quickly become one of Burnley’s key players and is the club’s top scorer this season, with 19 goals to his name so far. He can play on either wing and is a direct forward-moving threat, who is a strong finisher.

One to watch

Taylor Harwood-Bellis: Defender Harwood-Bellis joined Burnley on a season-long loan from Premier League Manchester City in the summer. He joined City at the age of six and graduated from the club’s academy, making his debut for the club in 2019.

He has since gone on to make eight appearances for City, scoring one goal. The centre back has had a number of loan spells away from the Etihad, representing Blackburn Rovers, Anderlecht and Stoke City, prior to his temporary move to Burnley.

He has represented England at under-16, under-17, under-19, under-20 and under-21 levels and has made 31 appearances for Burnley this season, scoring one goal. Harwood-Bellis is a ball-playing centre-back who reads the game well.