A look ahead to tomorrow's gameBristol Rovers travel up to the Midlands to pay their second ever visit to Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium this weekend.
Currently in 7th spot on 18 points, the Brewers are 8 points ahead of Rovers and currently on a seven games unbeaten run, a club record in the Football League for games in the same season.
Last season Rovers’ first ever visit to the Pirelli Stadium started well as they went ahead on 14 minutes when Matt Harrold powered home a header from Craig Stanley's free kick. The Brewers took 14 minutes to equalise when Rovers only half cleared a ball in from the right and Taylor hit a first time shot into the corner of the net from the edge of the area.
Eight minutes later Burton took the lead as Kevin Amankwaah made an unchallenged run down the right and crossed into the box where Billy Kee hit a first time shot past Bevan. With no scoring in the second half the game ended up 2-1 to the home team.
The game at the Mem was an entirely different story as Rovers recorded their best win of the season. Having taken the lead on the 42nd minute from Mustapha Carayol, Elliot Richards doubled the score straight after half-time.
Calvin Zola gave the Brewers some hope on 54 minutes before the game went pear shaped for the Midlanders. Matt Harrold scored twice, Richards completed his hat-trick and Jim Patterson added his name to the scoresheet to complete a 7-1 home victory.
On Saturday Albion collected a point from a 0-0 draw at Morecambe. Speaking after the game, Boss Gary Rowett said, "We have had a really tough week with two away games and there is no doubt that has taken it out of the lads. We lacked a bit of fizz and our normal sparkle in the final third of the field, and sometimes that is what happens.
"We didn't create too many chances but at the other end I thought our defence was excellent against a side who we knew would have been lifted by their home win against Chesterfield in midweek.
"Despite the pressure they had they haven't really tested our goalkeeper and I am delighted to come away with the point. It's a result that extends our unbeaten run further and we can look to build on that with the home games coming up."
In order to help with their preparations he granted his team three days off. Including cup ties, Albion have played 10 of their 15 games so far this season away from home. They have already clocked up 1,700 miles and the equivalent of almost two days on the road.
Rowett is hoping the rest cure will help his players regain their zest as well as giving them the chance to recover from knocks. He said: “I don’t want to keep going on about it, but it’s been a really, really punishing schedule."
Albion goalkeeper Stuart Tomlinson noted, "I think we've kept four clean sheets, and the team's been scoring a lot of goals so we're looking good in the league. We've got a very solid shape, we've got a good foundation.
"I don't seem to have that much stuff to do in games other than helping out with long balls. It looks like we're going places because of the results we're picking up."
Anthony O’Connor is hopeful that he will be able to take up his place in that solid defence after he hobbled off during the second half of the 0-0 draw at Morecambe on Saturday, and he revealed afterwards he has been struggling since the 3-3 home draw with Northampton Town.
"I’ve been carrying a bit of a knock since the Northampton game which is why I came off today, but hopefully I can get myself right for next week and put in a good performance again.
"It was just a tackle I got against Northampton. I played against Southend and I felt it a bit then, but I got through it.
“There seems to be a good solidness in the back four and hopefully now we can keep keeping clean sheets and put points on the board.
“We’ve had a lot of Tuesday night games with the Capital One Cup and the league, but we’ve picked up four points from our last two games and we’re happy with that.
“It’s Bristol Rovers at home next week so hopefully we can get points there, then it’s Gillingham away and two home games after that, so we will be looking to rack up a few points there, but we’ll just look to next week now.
“We’re on a bit of an unbeaten run and we’ll have a bit of a rest and then look at next Saturday’s game and hopefully get a result there at home.”
There is obviously a great deal of well founded confidence with Gary Rowett’s set-up at Burton and Mark McGhee’s team will do well to come away with all three points.
Written by Gerry Prewett