The Lions got back to winning ways on Saturday, edging past a competitive Bury side by a single goal, thanks to stand-in captain, Shaun Williams. This Tuesday, they travel to high-flying Burton Albion, who are looking for back-to-back promotions, following their League Two triumph last season. Ashley Wilkinson, writer for the Burton Mail, provides ‘The View From The Opposition’ ahead of the first ever meeting between the two sides…
Name: Ashley Wilkinson
First Burton game: Burton Albion 1-1 Woking – Conference Premier (21st January, 2006). It was my first visit to the Pirelli Stadium, with a friend and his Dad. I was a Derby County fan growing up (and still am) and remember that day opting to go to watch Burton Albion for the first time, as a 15-year-old fan, rather than watch the Rams away at Coventry. It came just a few days after the Brewers visited Old Trafford in the FA Cup against Manchester United, having held Sir Alex Ferguson’s side to a 0-0 draw at the Pirelli weeks earlier! The 1-1 draw with Woking was entertaining – I made the right choice, as Derby lost 6-1!
Greatest moment following Burton: It’s hard to look past the League Two title triumph from last season, when the championship was secured on the final day, away at Cambridge United in a 3-2 win. The Brewers came from 2-1 down, with 10 men, to win. What a day.
Burton are flying high in League One at the moment – after promotion last season, I’m sure your current position is quite the dream?: It is indeed. For the fans who have followed the club since its Northern Premier League days, to see the side up against the likes of Sheffield United, Millwall and Wigan Athletic is quite the journey. To be near the very top is incredible.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink – just how much has he contributed towards Burton’s recent success?: Jimmy has clearly been a major factor. Many people like to point out that Gary Rowett assembled the squad and took the Brewers to two consecutive play-off finishes before leaving for Birmingham City, and use that as an asterisk against Hasselbaink. But, there is no question that Jimmy has organised the side in such a way that the best sides struggle to break them down. The back five – goalkeeper and defenders – have been extremely solid and kept 11 clean sheets so far this season. Under Rowett, the side were never quite that watertight in defence. They have conceded just 15 times this season – four of those goals came in a mad 40 minutes at Fleetwood Town.
Who are Burton’s ‘ones to watch’ on Tuesday night?: Nasser El Khayati is an extremely tricky winger and the Brewers’ top scorer this season with seven goals. He can strike a mean set piece, cross an excellent ball into the box and give full-backs trouble, but for me, he works better in the ‘No 10′ role, where he can affect play more regularly. Stuart Beavon is key to the Brewers’ pressing in the final third, while captain John Mousinho is an absolute rock at centre-half.
Likewise, are there any Millwall players that you will be wary of? What do you make of their chances this season?: I remember watching Lee Gregory tear up defences for fun in the Conference (or National League, as it is now known) a few years ago at Halifax. He knows how to find the back of the net and is, for me, one of the best strikers in the division.
How do you see the game going?: I don’t like to predict score lines, unfortunately! But I don’t foresee a high-scoring game. If you had to push me for a result, I’d say…
Score Prediction: Burton Albion 1-0 Millwall – their speciality score this season.
Ashley’s Team Prediction: McLaughlin; Edwards, Mousinho, Flanagan, McCrory; Butcher, Naylor; Duffy, El Khayati, Binnom-Williams; Beavon.
The first ever meeting between Burton Albion and Millwall takes place at the Pirelli Stadium this Tuesday, December 1st. Kick-off is at 7:45pm.