We go into the game in third place, just a solitary point behind QPR but now a massive nine points behind Leicester although we do have a game in hand.
It's only the third time since September that we've gone into match day outside the top two. The win at Leeds took us into second place for the first time and it was only following the two goalless draws against Watford and then Wigan that we slipped below that.
Both times we won the next game to return to second place and we'll be looking to do that tonight and hopefully, if results go well elsewhere, pull some of those points back on the leaders.
|Tonight is special for latest signing Ashley Barnes|
Since we last played, when somehow we weren't able to beat Sheffield Wednesday, the squad have been on a trip to Spain for four days, even taking in Barcelona's game against Levante. This came after we'd failed to get the Barnsley away game, scheduled for a Tuesday in March, move forward to last Saturday.
It was warm weather training, certainly warmer than the players would have got in Burnley last week, and a chance for latest signing Ashley Barnes to get to know his new team mates better and offer his choice of song for the initiation ceremony; he's confirmed he opted for the Proclaimers' best known effort , 'I'm going to be (500 miles)'.
Although he'll almost certainly start on the bench, it is a big night for Barnes who will come face to face with his former Brighton team mates just 18 days after completing his move to Turf Moor.
He told the Burnley Express: "It will be a bit strange, but it will be a special moment. I had four great years there and left on a high. Now I've got a new chapter in my life."
If and when called upon he's looking to get Burnley back into that top two as quickly as possible. "We've just come out of the top two and we have hardly been out of the top two all season," he added. "I just want to help us get back up there."
Barnes, who has said he will not celebrate should he get his first Burnley goal tonight, made his debut as a substitute at Yeovil, coming on late in the game for Danny Ings. His hoe debut came a week later, getting a few extra minutes in the Wednesday draw after replacing Keith Treacy.
He's admitted that, for now, he's back up for Ings and Sam Vokes but will be looking to push for one of their places once he gets the opportunity.
It's as back up where he'll continue tonight in a team that is hardly likely to show many, if any, changes from last time out.
Ben Mee was close then and he's now been passed fully fit. Danny Lafferty has certainly done better after a couple of shaky performances at Middlesbrough and Wigan, but I do suspect that Dyche will opt to recall Mee.
One player probably introducing more debate than most is Keith Treacy. He's been back in the starting eleven recently and has played in all of the last five league and cup games. He's played well too but there are still suggestions from supporters on the message board that he should be left out with both Barnes and the out of form Michael Kightly offered as better alternatives.
I'm sure he'll start again tonight and I expect the team, barring any late problems, to be: Tom Heaton, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, Jason Shackell, Ben Mee, Keith Treacy, Dean Marney, David Jones, Scott Arfield, Danny Ings, Sam Vokes. Subs from: Alex Cisak, Kevin Long, Danny Lafferty, David Edgar, Brian Stock, Junior Stanislas, Michael Kightly, Ashley Barnes.
Brighton come into the game in eighth place and having reached the 5th round of the FA Cup with a 3-1 win at Port Vale last Saturday.
They were expected to be one of the front runners this season having reached the play-offs in 2012/13, but they had a somewhat chaotic summer with the suspending and then sacking of manager Gus Poyet and the fallout from that play-off defeat against rivals Crystal Palace.
Under new manager Oscar Garcia, not surprisingly, it was an erratic start but they have settled down more recently and have lost just three of their last 15 games. Their away form is decent with five wins and four defeats; only four teams have secured more points on the road and they are the current top four in the league.
Whilst not being free flowing in terms of goals on their travels they can boast the best defensive record away from home in the Championship this season with only ten goals conceded in 13 games.
Overall this season their leading goalscorer in the league is Leo Ulloa with six goals. The Argentinean scored against us at the Amex in August but an injury at the beginning of October ruled him out for over two months.
He's back now but the two players just behind him with five goals each will not be alongside him tonight. One of them is Andrew Crofts. The midfielder has been ruled out for the rest of the season after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament. The other player on five goals is Ashley Barnes.
Brighton are looking to do some business in the transfer market this week. They've already signed Jonathan Obika on loan from Spurs and signed Preston's Jeffrey Monakana but are still keen to find a replacement for Barnes.
Latest suggestions are that Sunderland, who want to sign Liam Bridcutt, could offer then Connor Wickham on loan having recalled him early from his loan at Sheffield Wednesday. Nothing has gone through, otherwise Wickham might have been preparing to line up against us in two consecutive Burnley home games.
There have been no news on what the Brighton team might be but they will be without both Will Buckley and Craig Mackail-Smith, both injured. The latter hasn't played since March but is on his way back.
Garcia made a number of changes for the cup tie at Vale and it is more likely that he'll revert more closely to the team that lost at Derby last time out in the league.
The team that day was: Tomasz Kuszczak, Bruno Saltor, Stephen Ward, Keith Andrews, Gordon Greer, Matthew Upson, Jake Forster-Caskey, Rohan Ince, Leo Ulloa, David Lopez, Andrea Orlandi. Subs: Peter Brezovan, Lewis Dunk, Kemy Agustien, Inigo Calderon, Adam Chicksen, Jonathan Obika, Solly March.
Last Time They Were Here
|Debut for Cameron Stewart|
Back in September 2012, Brighton's last visit to Turf Moor saw them go home with all three points from a 3-1 win. It ended a week for Burnley with a third successive performance that was not even close to being acceptable.
We'd lost at Huddersfield a week earlier, got through against Plymouth in the cup on penalties, and now came this poor, poor showing.
We made two changes to the team that had lost at Huddersfield with Marvin Bartley coming in for Sam Vokes and Cameron Stewart replacing Ross Wallace for a Burnley debut. Stewart had a shocker of a debut and Junior Stanislas on the other side was no better. The midfield, a strange combination of Dean Marney, Chris McCann and Bartley, didn't work and we looked vulnerable defensively all afternoon.
Craig Mackail-Smith scored the only goal of the first half. It was a good finish after David Edgar had pulled off inviting him to shoot, but it could well have been more. We were simply awful.
Without offering much more in the second half we got ourselves level. Stanislas crossed well and Gordon Greer, under some pressure from substitute Martin Paterson, headed into his own goal.
For a few minutes we looked to get forward, but it didn't last long before Brighton, not particularly good themselves, took over again. Mackail-Smith restored their lead before Greer scored again, this time at the right end, for him, to complete the scoring.
It really was a shocker of a performance.
The teams were;
Burnley: Lee Grant, Kieran Trippier, David Edgar, Jason Shackell, Joseph Mills, Dean Marney (Sam Vokes 83), Marvin Bartley (Martin Paterson 45), Chris McCann, Junior Stanislas, Charlie Austin, Cameron Stewart (Ross Wallace 64). Subs not used: Brian Jensen, Michael Duff, Ben Mee, Brian Stock.
Brighton: Tomasz Kuszczak, Bruno Saltor, Adam El-Abd, Gordon Greer, Wayne Bridge, Liam Bridcutt, Gary Dicker, Andrew Crofts (Will Buckley 38), Kazenga LuaLua (Andrea Orlandi 79), Craig Mackail-Smith, Ashley Barnes. Subs not used: Casper Ankergren, Lewis Dunk, Inigo Calderon, Ryan Harley, Torbjorn Agdestein.
Previous Games against Brighton
|Last 20 Years|
|1993/94||Division 2||h||3-0||8,837||Russell(2), Davis|
|1995/96||Division 2||h||3-0||9,016||Eyres, Swan, Nogan|
|a||2-2||6,502||Little, I Moore|
Click HERE to see all previous results against Brighton