Saturday, September 29th 2012
It feels like this season has been going on for a whole lot longer than eight league games, not because of any lack of match quality but because there’s been so much packed into these opening few weeks. Town have made a decent opening and sit ninth going into this weekend having briefly entered the top seven a couple of weeks ago following the 1-0 win at Dagenham.
A similar sort of performance to that night will be required on Saturday but it will be far from easy against a Burton Albion side that are a completely different proposition to the side that we beat by that same score line back in March.
Current Brewers boss Gary Rowett was only in temporary charge last time the clubs met in that relegation scrap a few months ago. The former Albion player dragged his side away from danger, though, and was rewarded in the summer after being handed the job on a full time basis. Despite a tough start to the season, Rowett has overseen three wins from the last four games and taken them to seventh place in the table as things stand.
Extra time woe…
Having fought their way past Sheffield United and Leicester City in the Capital One Cup, Albion took a two goal lead on Tuesday night at fellow League Two side Bradford City. But after Nahki Wells scored a late brace for the hosts, the game went into extra time and the Bantams struck again through Stephen Darby to end Burton’s interest in the competition.
Burton forward Adi Yussuf spent some time on trial with the Cobblers in the summer of 2011 but wasn’t taken on by then boss Gary Johnson, instead joining the Brewers a few weeks later.
Cobblers leading scorer for this season Alex Nicholls played fourteen times for Burton whilst on loan from Walsall in 2007 but wasn’t able to get on the score sheet during his time there.
Burton made two loan signings on Friday, both of whom will be available to play against the Cobblers. Winger Luke Rooney joined the Brewers on a month long loan from Swindon Town whilst Wigan Athletic central defender Rob Kiernan also signed on a similar deal. Albion are without defenders Marcus Holness and Nathan Stanton with hamstring and Achilles injuries respectively so Kiernan should go straight into the starting eleven. Also missing for the hosts are Chris Palmer and Jimmy Phillips.
The Cobblers will give Clive Platt a late fitness test after the striker missed last weekend’s draw with Chesterfield with a calf injury. Meanwhile, new loan midfielder Kemar Roofe will go straight into the squad for the trip to the Pirelli Stadium.
Previous Six Meetings…
20/03/12: Burton 0-1 Cobblers (League Two)
In a massive six pointer at the wrong end of League Two, the Cobblers scored an injury time winner through Kelvin Langmead to move a step closer to survival at the end of last season.
26/12/11: Cobblers 2-3 Burton (League Two)
On Boxing Day of last season there were two goals in two minutes at Sixfields as the Cobblers took the lead through on loan striker Saido Berahino before Cleveland Taylor equalised for the visitors seconds later. Michael Jacobs put Town back in front from the spot but after John Johnson was sent off on eighteen minutes it was an uphill struggle for the Cobblers and Chris Palmer levelled things on the hour. Justin Richards would eventually seal the win for his side with a late penalty to keep us in the bottom two.
05/04/11: Burton 1-1 Cobblers (League Two)
Guillem Bauza gave the Cobblers the lead at the Pirelli Stadium but Aaron Webster equalised for the hosts just before half time.
01/03/11: Cobblers 2-3 Burton (League Two)
Andrew Corbett, John McGrath and a Chris Dunn own goal had Burton three up at Sixfields in a disastrous first half for Town despite John Johnson’s late strike that gave us outside hope. Andy Holt netted just after the hour but it wasn’t enough and Albion went home with all three points.
30/01/10: Cobblers 1-1 Burton (League Two)
Future Cobblers striker Shaun Harrad scored early in the second half to put his side in front but the Cobblers earned a share of the spoils late on thanks to Andy Holt’s leveller.
29/08/09: Burton 3-2 Cobblers (League Two)
One of the final nails in the coffin of then Cobblers boss Stuart Gray as Burton scored three times in the first eleven minutes to all but end the match as a contest. Steve Guinan and Ryan Gilligan, with a penalty, tried in vain to get us back into the match in a much improved second half but the damage was well and truly done. Gray was sacked as Town boss just a couple of weeks later.
The Man in the Middle…
In charge this weekend will be Brendon Malone who has shown three red cards in five matches so far this season. Malone was the official for two Cobblers games last season, a 2-0 home defeat by Morecambe and a 3-2 Sixfields win over Bristol Rovers.
As I mentioned earlier, this is a completely different prospect to our last visit to the Pirelli but with Albion having gone to extra time on Tuesday coupled with a blank week for us, there could be something to pick up here. There’s been one 3-2 win for Burton in each of the last three seasons but I can’t see this one being as high scoring this time. 1-1