"From Burton here … the smug and silver Trent
Shall run in a new channel"
Having suffered the penalty of being knocked out of the League Cup (see what I did there?) we now have the first match in our “Group of 4” for the EFL Checkatrade competition. The group consists of ourselves and the Brewers plus Port Fail, and Middlesbrough’s U-21 side who we entertain on October 9th; we then play Port Vale at home on November 13th.
Because of the esteem (or lack of it) that this competition is held in, it’s hard to form a realistic assessment of an individual match. Clubs will use these fixtures to give game time to fringe players and/or rest those who evidently need a few days away from the action. It’s a bit of a juggling act for Dean Keates however, as there are rules governing the perceived strength of teams selected, and clubs have been fined in the past for putting out weakened sides (Luton Town the prime example) even when they’ve won!
League One form is perhaps misleading apropos this game, but it should be noted that while we were losing to Macclesfield Town, Burton Albion were progressing at the expense of Aston Villa. As far as player connections goes, there are no Walsall links in Burton Albion’s current squad - but older members will no doubt recall the name of Frank Gregg, who left Fellows Park in 1973 to join the Brewers and was named their Player of the Year in 1974.
There can’t be many towns the size of Burton-on-Trent to have had 3 Football League teams at one time or another, but Burton United (1892-1907) and Burton Wanderers (1894-97) were both members of League II until they failed to gain re-election and were disbanded. Neither club has any connection with Burton Albion, who were founded in 1950. Burton United’s highest League score, incidentally, was 8-5 against Walsall in the 1893-94 season…
Prediction for this one? Not knowing the extent of Dean Keates’ “resting” policy for this competition it’s hard to say. How about a 1-1 draw, with a Luke Leahy free kick finding the net?