Swansea V Burnley at Liberty Stadium : Match Preview

03 March 2017
Swansea V Burnley - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Swansea boss Paul Clement to renew rivalry with Burnley's Sean Dyche

Swansea's Paul Clement renews his long-running rivalry with Sean Dyche this weekend, bidding to erase a painful memory against the Burnley boss.

The pair first met as opposition managers when Clement was in charge of the Chelsea under-18 team and Dyche held the same role at Watford.

But it is a Championship game between Burnley and Derby last season which is prominent in Clement's mind ahead of their Premier League reunion at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

Dyche's Burnley won 4-1 at Turf Moor, and that was the beginning of the end of Clement's eight-month Derby reign as he was sacked two games later.

"We are the same age - but he looks older than me!" laughed 45-year-old Clement.

"I have known Sean a fair time now as we came up against each other in Chelsea-Watford under-18 games.

"I played him twice last year in the Championship as well. We drew the home game and lost away in one of my last games.

"He has done a fantastic job at Burnley to take them into the Premier League, and then to rebuild them and get promoted again after they went down."

Burnley are five places and seven points better off than a Swansea side, who have revived dramatically since Clement was appointed at the start of January.

The Clarets have 31 points in what has been a very creditable campaign, but only two of those have come away from home in draws at Manchester United and Hull.

"It is difficult to say what the reasons are behind the difference in their home and away form," Clement said.

"They've made their home ground a very difficult place to go to and have got an excellent home record."

Four wins from Clement's seven games have taken Swansea two points above the relegation zone.

Most pundits have suggested the bottom seven are battling to avoid the drop, but the Swansea head coach suggests the likes of Burnley just above that group can not rest easy just yet.

"They (Burnley) are not in that fight at the moment, but with 12 games to go there are a lot of points to play for," Clement said.

"They'll be eager to get some points, whether that will be through draws away from home or home wins.

"We just have to be very focused and the players showed that against Leicester in a high-pressure game the last time we played at home.

"But we've just come back on the back of a loss at Chelsea and we need to put that right against Burnley."

Joey Barton has earned a glowing commendation from Burnley boss Dyche ahead of what could be his final game for the club.

Barton was a key part of the Clarets' Championship-winning campaign last season and, after a brief and tempestuous spell at Rangers, returned in January to restate his Premier League credentials.

The 34-year-old midfielder has since made 10 appearances, scoring the winning goal against Southampton and putting in a superb shift in the surprise draw with Chelsea.

But Saturday's game could be the end of the road, with a Football Association hearing into betting offences due to take place next week.

Barton has accepted a misconduct charge relating to 1,260 bets over a 10-year period and could face a lengthy ban, scuppering his hopes of staying at Turf Moor beyond the summer.

The former Manchester City, Newcastle and QPR player was charged before re-signing with Burnley but Dyche had no qualms about inviting him back.

"I don't think he had to prove his worth, he had nothing to prove to me," said the manager.

"He might have had something to prove to himself and that is that he can still do it, but he had nothing to prove to me. I've seen what he can and what he's about. I make it clear, under my world at Burnley he's been top drawer.

Dyche is phlegmatic about the prospect of Barton being banned, a possibility the club made contractual provisions for and one the manager has not investigated too deeply.

"It was something to do with himself and the FA, so we'll have to wait and see what happens with that," he offered.

"That's for him and his team to take on with the FA and see how it comes out. I don't fear anything, because I don't know what's going to happen.

"As much as we get on really well I don't sit him down and go 'what do you want to do? He's his own man. He'll make his own way."

Burnley have Jeff Hendrick back from suspension but will be without Ashley Barnes, who serves a ban of his own.