Three doesn't go into two: Why Burnley, Boro and Brighton will and won't go up

Nick Miller digs out his microscope to examine the ridiculously close race for automatic promotion from the Championship which sees three teams locked on points with just two matches remaining...

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Why they'll go up automatically

At the moment, Burnley look like something of a juggernaut. A fairly lumbering, workmanlike juggernaut, but they do seem to have forgotten how to lose a game.

Going into this weekend, they're on a 21-game unbeaten run, a sequence that admittedly has contained a fair few draws, but when Sean Dyche told fans that Burnley have a 'strong jaw' after a recent game, he wasn't kidding.

Their last two games are against QPR (mid-table, nothing to play for) and Charlton (already relegated, nothing to play for) so it's very easy to see them winning both. Plus, they know at least one of the other two will definitely drop points, as they play each other on the last day.


Burnley are fighting their way towards a Premier League return

Why they won't

Despite that long unbeaten run, their performances haven't been massively convincing of late. They required a deflected Joey Barton free-kick to beat Preston last week, and a scrambled injury-time equaliser to draw with Middlesbrough.

They've only won by more than a single goal once since the end of February and their points haven't been collected through glorious, sweeping football

They've only won by more than a single goal once since the end of February and while they haven't exactly been relying on luck, their points haven't been collected through glorious, sweeping football either. The chances of them slipping up are relatively slim, but nonetheless real.

Who they're relying on

Andre Gray has been responsible for nearly a third of their league goals, with Sam Vokes the only other player to have reached double figures for the season.

Barton pulls the strings from midfield and generally barks at everyone else in exactly the manner you'd expect from him, seemingly fuelled this season by an indignation that a Premier League team didn't try to sign him last summer.

Andre Gray

Gray recently picked up the Championship Player of the Year award at the Football League Awards

Scott Arfield and George Boyd aren't exactly the most flamboyant wide players, but they fit with the Burnley style rather nicely nonetheless.

What'll happen if they do?

It would seem rather counter-productive if they repeated the parsimonious 2014/15 season in the top flight, when they spent little and were unsurprisingly relegated straight away.

Bournemouth have showed that you can spend money but still be sensible and stay in the Premier League, and although Dyche is quite a stubborn old soul, you'd hope they show a little more ambition in the transfer market.

Sean Dyche

Dyche is hoping to earn his second promotion with Burnley