Just 26 days after our dire away performance at the Pirelli Stadium we have the chance to take revenge on Burton, writes Tom Morton
Luckily the game against the Brewers on Boxing Day was one of the games I missed covering, which means I won’t just be regurgitating the same preview from three weeks ago. Although to be honest a decent amount has changed in that time, and sadly not for the positive.
Let’s start with the obvious; we should win this game, much like we should have won the away fixture. Burton are languishing second from bottom with just 5 wins and 14 losses to their name (although to be fair we are only on 6 wins for the season, so perhaps least said…). It’s tight at the bottom, but with a goal difference of -22 (surpassed only by bottom side Forest Green’s -28) it’s a long and cold road back to safety.
As you’d expect for a club in such a position they have already done a bit of business this transfer window. Across the league it’s felt fairly quiet so far – and at Lincoln very very quiet – but Burton have brought in six players already. That includes two new keepers. It appears that manager Dino Maamria feels incumbent Ben Garrat, who was on the pitch against us at Christmas, is to blame for those conceded goals. Seemingly Jordan Amissah on load from Sheffield Wednesday has the nod to replace him.
Look, stats wise this is a winnable game. Burton are conceding an average of over 2 goals per game away from home, their PPG is 0.69 and they have only 2 wins. One of those wins was over Forest Green who themselves are in crisis mode. This is a team who are clearly in a relegation fight already with a lot to do to pull it back.
It has been something of a slump for a team who at this stage last season sat in 13th with 31 points. In that respect, it’s a bit of a role reversal. I know recently our form has been off and fans have been feeling low. But compared to last season we sit on five more points than at the same games-played. Yes this year that’s only good enough for 16th but if you look at teams with the same points last year (Burton for example!) they largely avoided worrying about the battle below them. Now, the key thing is: we picked up 27 points in 21 games (vs 21 points for Burton), more than half our points in less than half the games highlighting how key the next few games are.
As always at this point in the season it is fairly tough to predict the team we’ll face. Obviously, it’s likely we’ll be up against a new keeper (which is no bad thing I guess). But I mean we saw what they were like a few weeks ago. Far from creative going forward and seemingly stuck in the mud at the back. I watched highlights of their 0-4 loss to Shrewsbury and at times their defence appears frozen in place whilst they get run around. Whilst they have a decent player in Victor Adeboyejo (11 goals) up front as a team they are barely mustering up double-digit shots per game. Although I might not belabor that point too much because our shots-per-game stat is worse.
At the end of the day, it comes down to this; Burton looked a poor and beatable team on boxing day. If we turn up today then a draw, given our home form, is very much table stakes. So long as we can get a goal. If Kennedy can ramp up the “revenge” angle and drive the motivation up – well this is a very winnable tie. Especially with the likely return of the excellent Ben House who I do feel we’ve sorely missed in recent weeks.
Incidentally, I think we have played the Brewers only eleven times in our history, with the first game being as late as 2009. Burton was founded in 1950, so are a very “young” team and have steadily worked their way up the leagues over the last 70 years. We briefly interacted after they were promoted into League Two in 2009 and they were promoted to League One during our time outside the EFL. Since 2019 we’ve faced them seven times. Interestingly we won the first five encounters, including a rather nice 5-1 boxing day win in 2020, but have struggled in the last two games.