Brewing up a storm

Burton Albion vs Bradford City preview

@Pirelli Stadium on Saturday 27 October, 2012

By Omar Eliwi

Bradford City head to the Pirlelli Stadium in Burton in buoyant mood on the back of two excellent wins in four days, the latest being a solid 1-0 away win at Northampton Town.

At the start of last Saturday I’m sure a points target for these three tough looking fixtures were set by most fans and by the club. With nine points available in one week, most City fans would be delighted with 7 points I am sure, but as things stand, the maximum 9 points are still available. These types of targets were normally massively missed in recent seasons from 3 games in one week, typically only walking away with 1 or 2 points, but the fact that we have achieved wins against a team in the top three at home followed by a tough away fixture is adding weight to the argument that 2012/2013’s Bradford City are the real deal.

The squad and manager believe in their prospects for this season. Rumour around the club is that Andrew Davies’ pockets have increased in size to double the size of a clowns, having tucked heavy weight Bayo Akinfenwa in there for 93 minutes at Sixfields on Tuesday night. Wins like Tuesday night’s tough battle breed confidence for everyone associated with the club. The only downside to our latest victory is that top marksman Nahki Wells has picked up a suspension for five yellow cards during the course of the season so far – for his ‘over enthusiastic’ celebrations following his decisive goal.

Expect the same starting eleven at Burton on Saturday as played on Saturday and Tuesday, with the exception of Wells, who is expected to be replaced by Alan Connell, Zavon Hines, or Garry Thompson up top. There are even suggestions on City’s official website today, by Assistant Manager Steve Parkin, that Will Atkinson may play in ‘the hole’ behind James Hanson. I hope that Phil Parkinson does not decide to go with that approach.

This fixture ( home and away) generates a lot of interest in my family every season since the Brewers arrival in the Football League, as my wife’s sizeable family are all from Burton-on-Trent, and all follow their local team.

Since their first season in the football league in their history (2009-2010), City have locked horns with the Brewers six times in the league – with 5 of the matches ending in a score draw. A betting man would predict the same again.

The only victory of the league meetings between the sides came in October 2010 at Burton under Peter Taylor’s disastrous reign where City lost 3-0 to their hosts, in a game which caused me much pain and anguish.

The most recent meeting between the side’s was the Capital One Cup clash at Valley Parade, where City, despite trailing 2-0 with 80 minutes played, ran out 3-2 winners in extra time, advancing to the current Quarter Finals stage where we face Wigan on Tuesday.

Like City, Albion have made a very good start to their League Two campaign. The currently sit in 10th place on 20 points, just 1 point away from the Playoff Zone. When Paul Peschisoildo was sacked last season after a 14 games winless run, many expected the club to appoint an experienced manager to steady the ship. But Albion decided to give Assistant and former Derby County defender Gary Rowett a shot. He duly kept the Brewers in the Football League on a caretaker basis, and when the full time manager’s position was up for grabs again in the close season, the club decided to promote from within and offer Rowettt the job on a permanent basis.

At the time, I thought it was not the right appointment. But he is proving me wrong at the moment.

Albion’s strike force of one time City target Calvin Zola, Justin Richards, Billy Kee and Adi Yussuf are very strong at this level. Concentration at the back came some time cost them, but expect City to have a tough battle on their hands on Saturday.

Burton held high flying Port Vale to a 1-1 draw at the Pirelli on Tuesday night – showing that beating them on their own patch is a tough task (they have only lost one game at home this season).

Most City fans would take a point on Saturday. But expect Phil Parkinson to hold nothing back with confidence this high. An away win would most certainly have us dreaming of promotion, having suffered so much for so long in the Football League’s basement division.

I will be at the game among family and friends and I would love nothing more than a reversal of the result that I suffered the season before last with Taylor in charge…I will be dreaming of that on Friday night. Can it become a reality? If it can, then I really believe that the sky is the limit for the club this season.

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