Championship minnows Burton Albion pose another tough task for United this weekend, following a tough away game at a Wigan Athletic who like to keep it tight at the back. Burton at home are no different and will be fully aware of the mammoth task ahead keeping out the likes of Dwight Gayle and Mo Diamé.
Burton Albion – A Factfile
Nickname: The Brewers
Stadium: Pirelli Stadium (6,912 capacity)
Manager: Nigel Clough
2015-16: League One, 2nd
Major Honours: None
Jackson Irvine – CM – Signed for the princely sum of £330,000 from Scottish Premier League side Ross County in the summer, Irvine has become somewhat of a surprise prolific goalscorer for Burton. The Australian midfielder already has seven goals to his name in a Brewers shirt and his attacking runs from deep will be something United will need to track.
Lloyd Dyer – LM – Versatile and experienced winger Dyer has seen plenty of Championship action throughout his career, most of which came during his time as a Leicester City player. The 34-year old may have lost a yard of pace, but his agility and ability has not diminished making him a tricky character to keep hold of for opposition full-backs.
Calum Butcher – CM – Although the former Spurs man was only at the club for a season, the midfielder left his mark on the club and their League One campaign, making 39 appearances and scoring five times helping Burton on their way to the Championship. Although Irvine has filled the void left by Butcher, his presence would still have been useful for squad depth.
Jamie Ward – ST – Utilised as a striker in Clough’s system at Burton, Ward can also play on the wing and with such a small budget and small squad, versatility is a key attribute needed for a club like Burton Albion. Ward’s greatest successes came at Derby County, just a short distance away from his current club, where he netted 29 times in the league, making over 125 appearances for the Rams. Ward featured for Northern Ireland at Euro 2016 and has plenty of experience in this division making him a prized asset as Burton look to beat the drop.
John Mousinho – CB – One of Burton’s longest serving players, Mousinho has overseen the promotions from League Two and League One, but still retains his starting berth in Clough’s side as he captains the club that has become his home over the past few years. Mousinho has established himself as a key man in the Burton XI, deserving of the captaincy through numerous displays of bravery, character and defensive solidity.
Matt Palmer – CM – At only 21 years old, it is strange so see such a young player feature so heavily for a team in a position dominated by experienced pros and elder statesmen. However, Palmer handles this responsibility brilliantly and is another survivor from Burton’s League Two days in 2014. Palmer joined the club as a youngster and has made over 106 league appearances for the Brewers since his debut as a 17-year old in 2012. Picked frequently due to his calmness and maturity, Palmer is an excellent member of Burton’s squad who can do a job across the midfield three, a formation that Clough prefers.
Last Six Results
Burton Albion 0-0 Barnsley – 5/11/16
Reading 3-0 Burton Albion – 19/11/16
Preston North End 1-1 Burton Albion – 26/11/16
Burton Albion 2-1 Rotherham United – 3/12/16
Brentford 2-1 Burton Albion – 10/12/16
Burton Albion 0-1 Huddersfield Town – 13/12/16
Son of the legendary Nottingham Forest and Derby County manager Brian Clough, Nigel has established himself in his own right, as an effective Football League manager following an impressive playing career. Clough was player-manager of Burton Albion between 1998-2009 before being headhunted by Derby County, where he lasted four years. Clough’s next job was a two-year stint at Sheffield United, another club steeped in history, but elected to return to the Pirelli Stadium following the departure of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in 2015, guiding the club to the Championship; the highest level of football the club has ever competed at.
Clough was a top talent in his playing days, featuring over 400 times for his father’s Nottingham Forest, before heading to Liverpool and later Manchester City. Clough knows what it takes to compete at the right end of the table but in the Championship he has come up short before, being sacked as Derby boss in 2013.