Owen Coyle will be forced to make defensive changes in what could be his last match in charge of Burnley, with Bolton expected to make their approach to make him their new manager early next week.

Stephen Jordan and Tyrone Mears are both suspended – Jordan after his red card at Goodison Park and Mears having collected five bookings.

Clarke Carlisle may be available but captain Steven Caldwell will miss a month of action with a groin strain.

That may open the door for Richard Eckersley, Brian Easton and David Edgar – three summer signings without a league appearance between them – although Michael Duff and Christian Kalvenes are perhaps more likely to be the beneficiaries of Burnley’s lightness in defence.

Further up the park Coyle may also be tempted to rotate with Robbie Blake hoping for a recall to the team. Andre Bikey is available and will travel to the African Nations to join up with the Cameroon squad after the match. Burnley will have to wait to be given permission from Portsmouth for David Nugent to take part.

It may be the right time to blood Ecuadorian winger Fernando Guerrero while Joey Gudjonsson and Steven Thompson could also be in line for rare appearances.

The hosts are unable to select West Ham’s Nigel Quashie under the terms of his loan deal and former Blackburn Robers manager Paul Ince is also without ex-Claret Luke Chadwick and David McCracken. Jason Puncheon, the winger who scored twice for the Dons on Boxing Day against Stockport County, is back after serving a one-game suspension.

Burnley are 38 places above MK Dons in the league structure with the newcomers sitting just outside the play-off places in League One. Their form is patchy with ten points taken from a possible 21 since the beginning of December and Jermaine Easter is their dangerman with 15 goals this season already.

On paper Burnley should have enough to go through but the Premier League side are without a win since October and haven’t won away from home all season in ninety minutes, needing extra-time to triumph against Hartlepool in the Carling Cup before exiting in the next stage with defeat to Barnsley at Oakwell.

Cup runs launched Burnley’s season last year with historic victories over Arsenal and Chelsea, while a win over then Premier League West Brom set up a return fixture at the Emirates in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Burnley fans will be hoping a morale-boosting win will be enough to persuade Owen Coyle that his future lies at Turf Moor, not a few miles down the road at the Reebok Stadium.

Prediction: MK Dons 1-2 Burnley.

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