As mentioned in my last blog, there was a real sense of uncertainty as to what this season would bring for the Brewers as the 2010/11 campaign didn’t seem to fill fans with too much joy. This time around though, the Brewers’ season so far has been a really positive one and has given the fans a real sense of optimism as to what could come.
With a very bright start from our new strikers Calvin Zola and Justin Richards, Burton no longer look like a team that will be struggling to find the net this season, further being helped by the recruitment of strikers Adi Yussuf from Leicester City and Billy Kee from Torquay United. Northern Ireland under-21 captain Kee is well known throughout League Two after netting regularly for Torquay United and Accrington Stanley. He and Yussuf will add some real competition upfront which will hopefully keep the promising Zola and Richards on their toes. Theirs is a partnership which has been fruitful as they’ve found the net 12 times between them already this season.
Despite that decent start which has propelled the side into 7th place in the table, there has been some bad news as the club lost both influential defender Nathan Stanton to a knee injury and young loan defender Tom Parker to an ankle injury. Both injuries, especially the loss of Stanton, had an effect as the Brewers struggled in their early games to hold onto a number of leads and developed a bad habit of conceding late goals.
Stanton may be back in around six weeks time which is welcoming news to the ears of all Brewers fans. Arguably the best Albion backline consists of Stanton, Tony James, Ryan Austin and Aaron Webster and if these four had been able to play together, the team could have potentially turned both the losses against Accrington and Sheffield United and the draws against Torquay and Shrewsbury into more positive results. However I’m not complaining too much – the defence managed to get another clean sheet as Burton defeated Crewe Alexandra and rescued a 2-2 draw at Oxford United after being 2-0 down.
Young goalkeeper Ross Atkins is enjoying his football and looks like he could have a bright future in the game. While the back-line in front of him may be depleted in parts, it definitely seems strong enough at the moment. Burton look very exciting in the middle of the park with John McGrath and Adam Bolder looking as solid as ever, allowing the likes of Cleveland Taylor (when fit,) Chris Palmer, Jimmy Phillips and Jacques Maghoma the freedom to trouble opposition defenders. Meanwhile the front two of Zola and Richards look like one of the best centre-forward partnerships the club has had for a long time.
Not wishing to get too carried away as only the first month has passed but with three wins, four draws and only one defeat in the league, things do look on the up. Coupled with improving finances and good support both home and away it is a good time to be supporting the Brewers!
Written by Rob Slater, We Are Going Up’s Burton Albion Blogger
Rob tweets at @rslater17