"Couldn’t organise a booze-up in a brewery"
Coming to you after a 4-day encounter with “man 'flu” (which the 'flu won hands down) this preview may well be short and sweet … but before that, here’s a confession - when Andy Cook was sent off after 6 minutes against Bradford City, my initial reaction went along the lines of “At least the hoof-ball diet might have to be ditched, and possibly a good thing too”. As an aside, the quotation at the top was echoed by many Bantams supporters referring to their manager - “inept” … “out of his depth” … and he has since resigned.
The Brewers currently occupy 11th place in the League One table, but such is the bunching of clubs it’s perhaps surprising to find that we are only 5 points behind them. Manager Nigel Clough is 3 years into his second spell in charge, but his win percentage of 30.4 is nothing to write home about. On-loan goalkeeper Bradley Collins (from Chelsea) is currently favoured, which consigns 37-year old Stephen Bywater to bench duties. Brewers’ current form:-
26 Jan Bradford City (H) Drew 1-1
2 Feb Oxford United (H) Drew 0-0
9 Feb AFC Wimbledon (A) Won 0-2
16 Feb Shrewsbury Town (A) Drew 1-1
19 Feb Barnsley (A) Drew 0-0
23 Feb Fleetwood Town (H) Lost 0-1
There is a Walsall connection, incidentally - Burton Albion’s “Player of the Year” (voted by their fans) for 2014 was Ian Sharps!
Dean Keates’ selection criteria and choice of tactics in Andy Cook’s first game of his 3 match upheld ban - well, who knows? One certainty is that our squad will have been shown the “bodies on the line” footage posted in the Bradford City match thread, and if we can score early on (rather than conceding) then there’s every chance of harvesting points.
Prediction? Ever the optimist, this game could well end up as a 0-2 away win, which would be very welcome bearing in mind our fixtures for the rest of March… (our winning goal to be credited to Martin O’Connor for his wind-assisted bellowing from the touchline)!!