PATERSON BLOW FOR CLARETS

Team news for Tuesday night's clash between Burnley and Birmingham.

Last Updated: 02/04/12 at 14:31

Martin Paterson: Hamstring injury

Martin Paterson: Hamstring injury

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Burnley boss Eddie Howe will be without Martin Paterson when his side welcome Birmingham on Tuesday night.

The striker limped out of Saturday's 5-1 win over Portsmouth with a hamstring injury, just six weeks after returning from a similar problem.

Paterson joins fellow forward and top-scorer Jay Rodriguez on the sidelines, with Rodriguez still nursing a hip problem.

But Charlie Austin is likely to lead the line against Blues after he scored his first hat-trick for the club as a substitute on Saturday.

As well as a depleted strike force, Howe also has fitness issues to contend with at the back.

Defender Ben Mee is struggling with a back spasm sustained at Fratton Park while Danny Lafferty is struggling with a hamstring strain.

Birmingham boss Chris Hughton boasts the same squad of players as he did for Friday's 3-1 triumph at Doncaster.

Midfielder Keith Fahey (groin) will miss out at Turf Moor but is "very close" to making his return, according to Hughton. The Irishman could well be back in the frame for Saturday's home clash against Crystal Palace.

Defensive trio Stephen Carr (knee), Jonathan Spector (thigh) and Pablo Ibanez (hamstring) are also unavailable once again.

Ibanez, like Fahey, is closing in on his return while Spector is making good progress and is not far off. Carr, however, has been forced to undergo a small operation and will do well to play again this season.

The encounter is Blues' game in hand on the rest of their promotion rivals and Hughton is aiming to strengthen their grip on a play-off place, but he acknowledges the clash is not the be all and end all with seven games remaining.

"If we lost at Burnley and then won our next three, would we settle for that? Probably, I think the answer is yes," he said. "If we're able to get something from the game, even a draw, it gets us another point. This is an opportunity for us."

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