Former Clarets boss Chris Waddle feels it could be automatic promotion or bust for Burnley.
Waddle, in charge at Turf Moor for the 1997/98 season, as Burnley avoided relegation to the basement division by beating Plymouth Argyle on the final day of the season, believes Clarets have to make sure of finishing in the top two, to avoid the lottery of the play-offs.
The former England winger said: “Sean Dyche has done a great job at Burnley.
“He plays a 4-4-2, which not many teams play anymore, and deals with a budget very well.
“He’s built a good spirit with the team, and he’ll be thinking that it’s automatic promotion or bust, because if they drop into third, there will be massive pressure on them as favourites to win the play-offs.
“Crucially, it’s all about momentum towards the end of the season, and I feel that with Brighton’s current form, Burnley can ill-afford to drop out of that automatic promotion place.”
While Burnley have strung together a post-war club record 21 league games unbeaten, Brighton are 11 without defeat, including nine wins, while Boro had six wins on the spin before last Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at Turf Moor, and subsequent stalemate with Ipswich Town on Saturday.
That left Burnley top on goal difference by a goal from Boro, and three from Brighton, and Waddle added: “It’s very tight in the Championship at the moment and, for that, you’ve got to give credit to Chris Hughton and Brighton, who are bang in form with great momentum.
“Burnley and Middlesbrough three or four weeks ago would have been thinking that promotion was done and dusted, but are now constantly looking over their shoulders because if one misses out, they’ll have to play some dangerous teams in the play-offs.”