Burton Albion will face an in-form Aston Villa for this midweek away fixture; 2 league wins on the bounce and we’re unbeaten in the league for the last 6 games. Feels strange writing a sentence like that, but we’re not quite there yet. Last season’s edition of this tie ended up being a 1-1 draw that saw Jonathan Kodjia score within 3 minutes, his 19th of the season, only for the game to quickly fizzle out. This time at the Pirelli Stadium we’ll be trying to record back to back away wins for the first time since September 2014, and doing so could see us head into the playoff places.
With 9th place Villa in strong attacking form, it’s unlikely that we’ll be seeing a 0-0 draw here – especially taking into consideration that Burton Albion have kept just 1 clean sheet in their last 19 home matches. You could say most statistics seem to edge towards a win for us, although we know much better than to expect the expected. Our away win vs Barnsley showed little evidence of actually playing better and we were very lucky at times, and I’m sure Nigel Clough would’ve watched that game over to try and pick out where we’re weakest.
After 5 attempts, Nigel Clough has never beaten Steve Bruce.
Steve Bruce will likely keep the same starting XI as he has done for the previous 2 matches, and rightly so after galvanising his team and gaining 2 wins on the trot. That said, it’d be nice if he’d simply galvanise the fans rather than antagonise. Confidence should be flowing through the squad right now and we should be looking to put down a serious marker before the international break against evidently much weaker opposition, but breaking down Burton Albion is no easy feat.
Jake Buxton, Matty Lund, John Brayford and Joe Mason are all hopeful of returning to fitness for the opposition, whilst Will Miller won’t be back from his hamstring injury.
An impressive away draw against QPR is likely to be the blueprint for Burton Albion as they hope to continue adding points to their tally and try to further improve on their 19th place standing. The statistic of 83% of Burton Albion’s goals being scored at home has been floating around, but the Brewers have only scored 6 goals all season – just 1 more than Conor Hourihane alone. On the flip side, Burton are yet to lose to a Midlands club at home since gaining promotion to the Championship, winning 5 and drawing 1. Burton have also lost only 1 of their last 6 league games, showing just how far they have come as a club by holding their ground in this league.
Burton will work very hard as always, but with their defensive line recovering from several minor injuries, you would assume our front 4 would be hoping to have a field day.
Opposition Danger Man:
Lucas Akins has just signed a contract extension and will be looking to prove a point following his tremendous story, sticking with the Brewers throughout their rise from League 2. Burton’s number 10 has been one of their top performers this season having 1 goal and 1 assist to his name.
Gabriel Agbonlahor (injured), Andre Green (injured), Mile Jedinak (injured), Jack Grealish (injured), Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (injured).
Predicted Starting XI:
Kick-off: Tuesday 26th September ’17, 7:45PM (GMT).
TV Coverage: AVTV Live (Digital), iFollow Burton (Digital).
Unibet Special: John Terry to score 10/1
Result prediction for today's away fixture against Burton Albion? #AVFC
— The Holte (@TheHolteTweets) September 25, 2017
It’s nice to go into a match assuming we should win, however with Burton I just have a feeling we’ll see somewhat of a repeat of last season’s tie. I’d love to be wrong and I do hope we can score 3/4 goals to really make a statement of intent going forward, showing that we are a team that is capable of fighting for promotion. That said, I fully expect Burton to make it extremely difficult for us and I can also see them grabbing at least a goal. They’ve already taken a scalp from Fulham this season, and I’d be happy with a draw when looking at the bigger picture. Heart says big win, head says tight draw.