Saturday, 4 January 2014

So how are Burton Albion and AFCB likely to shape up?

Burton Albion FC might seem like a small provincial town that is a banana skin tie for AFCB in the FA Cup third round. They are no fouls though when it come to playing football and have seen a steady improvement in results and personnel since their entry into the football league some five years ago. They now sit in second place in League Division Two and their manager Gary Rowett has an impressive CV with many years at Everton, Derby, Leicester and Charlton among others and is likely to enter his second year as the club manager in May 2014, having previously being caretaker and assistant manager.

Having been formed in 1950 Burton Albion are one of the newer professional football clubs in England and so there progress has been swift through the non-leagues to professional football. In 2002 they entered the Conference and won it in 2008-09. Moreover they have FA Cup pedigree having drawn with Man Utd at home in the third round in 2006. Nigel Clough learnt how to manage at Burton Albion and the Brewers have started to attract some names that have played higher in the league, such as Adam McGurk who we know well from his Tranmere days. He is not their lead goal scorer though, that is Billy Kee who has nine goals in all and two in the cup. He was schooled as Leicester City and is a Northern Ireland U21 international player. At the back Chris Hussey has also plenty of experience playing for Coventry City.

Another striker that all AFCB fans will know is one of our ex-players, Michael Symes. Micahel who is now 30 joined the club last year after a loan period with them. I am sure he will receive a good reception at Dean Court if he is in the squad. Burton also have a Howe in their team, Rene Howe who has played in the lower leagues for Peterborough and on loan at several clubs as well as a permanent deal at Torquay before joining the Brewers, so Eunan O'Kane should know him well. 

Sadly we won't see the famous Rory Delap who was legendary at Stoke City for his long throws in the Premiership. Rory signed for the Brewers last summer but retired in December with a persistent hamstring injury. He also played for that team down the road between 2001-06, so he would have got some stick from our supporters. 

One player AFCB fans will be likely to see is 21-year-old defender Adam Buxton who has been signed on a month's loan from Wigan. Adam can play anywhere along the back line, but usually plays at right back.

Adam Buxton is looking forward to the FA Cup match against the Cherries.

In the last round Burton took Fleetwood to a replay and beat them 1:0 at home. In fact the Brewers' favourite score seems to be 1:0 in recent months, although in the first round of the cup they beat Hereford Utd 2:0. But it's the league form that points to the fact that this will not be an easy game for AFCB, having not lost in their last eight league games, winning five and drawing three. 

It is interesting to guess at who Eddie Howe may play in this game. I suspect that Ryan Allsop will play in goal, but after that we can only guess at the team. Steve Cook could perhaps start as one of the centre backs and Ian Harte could come into the team if Daniels needs a rest. We don't know the fitness of Coulibaly but it would perhaps be a tie he could play a part as a sub, while Josh McQuoid and Tokelo Rantie could also feature not having played much of late. I am sure that Eddie will keep a few regulars in the team, but Shaun MacDonald and Brett Pitman could feature as they also have not played so much of late.

The subs bench may feature some of those who played against Brighton, while who knows if Addison will get an outing. Wes Fogden could be ready for a return and if Matt Tubbs is not going straight out on loan again he could be available. One player who won't feature is Joe Partington who has just gone out on a month's loan to Aldershot. 

You can almost roll the dice for the squad selection, but I would expect about four changes from the Brighton starting 11. To change more than that would probably be too risky, but Eddie knows how fit the players are and who is ready for a game and who needs to be rested. Personally I would start with the strongest team and try and get the lead before bringing on some who have not a game but I expect Eddie will want to rest quite a few players. I do hope AFCB are too strong though for a team riding high in League Two and playing with confidence. We were there not so long ago and it's strange to be looking at such a tie from the other way around now that we are the scalp.

Burton Away form (League)

AFCB Home form (League)

You can also see what Burton Albion write Colston Crawford has to say about the Brewers when Cherry Chimes interviewed him - just visit Rival Lines.

BREAKING NEWS: Lee Camp signs 2.5 year deal at AFC Bournemouth. He's ours!

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