Please log in or register. Registered visitors get fewer ads.
I'm Glad We Are Building A Younger Side - Notes for Burton Albion
Friday, 18th Feb 2022 15:00 by TomTheWriter

Off the back of a solid draw in front of 7,000 away fans at Stadium MK, Ipswich head into the first of two back-to-back home games against Burton Albion, TomTheWriter assesses the mood in the opposition camp.

With six wins from his first nine games as manager, Kieran McKenna will be looking to continue his 100 per cent home record over the next four days with two winnable matches.

Their first opponents, Burton Albion, have been on an upward trajectory since the arrival of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who has switched out experienced options for younger talent.

This season, Joe Powell has offered creativity and flair from the midfield, Tom Hamer has solidified his reputation as one of the best full-backs outside the Championship, while Ben Garratt has maintained control between the sticks.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

“I got the impression from Jimmy that he intends on rotating [John] Brayford and [Sam] Hughes for midweek games”, “I still have faith in Jimmy and [assistant manager] Dino [Maamria] and I am sure they are learning valuable lessons too”, “Sometimes the football is not great this season and as a fan I don't always agree with Jimmy's team selection. Inconsistency is an understatement.”

Arriving at the beginning of January 2021, Hasselbaink masterminded a great escape from the bottom of League One, leading his Burton side to safety before pushing them towards what looks set to be a top-half finish this season.

“To develop these players, Jimmy and Dino will need to add some experience in key areas next season”, “When Jimmy was here first time round we knew how to grind out results mainly in a 4-5-1 or 4-4-2 formation and conceded very few goals”, “Jimmy and Dino, I suspect from what was revealed in interviews, have a Plan B.”

This year, Burton have never looked like being dragged into a relegation dogfight. Hasselbaink and Maamria have reinvigorated the fans with impressive displays since their arrival, but there has been calls for a change of style over the past few months.

The State of Play

“I think if you look back over the last 20 years or more then in general we have done exceptionally well and if anything have over-achieved”, “I came away from last night’s game feeling sad but realistically it's what you come to expect. We rise to the occasion in some matches but in others have to accept the gulf in abilities and what's expected with a club like ours”, “Happy to be in sort of mid-table, it's where I'd expect us to be right now.”

As it stands, the Brewers find themselves in 12th place in League One with 12 wins, seven draws and 13 defeats from their 32 games.

“I agree people need to be realistic. We've been in decline as a club since halfway through [former manager Nigel] Clough’s second spell after he stamped his authority back into things, and the horrific [Jake] Buxton appointment further compounded things and nearly killed us off”, “Jimmy’s return certainly gave us a brief spark, but that has very much dulled now”, “I'm glad we are building a younger side, but again the main focal point of that youth is someone who won't be with us for very long. Without [Dan] Jebbison I dread to think where we'd be.”

Burton sit three places and five points behind Town heading into the fixture on Saturday with a victory over the visitors helping the Blues to close the gap on the play-offs, possibly down to two points.

The Squad

Currently, in the Burton Albion squad, they have a strong selection of midfielders to choose from, even after the January departures of Tom O’Connor to Wrexham and Lucas Akins to Mansfield.

Their weakest position looks to be their attack with only three forwards available to them for the rest of the season after the losses in January of Kane Hemmings to Tranmere, Omari Patrick to Carlisle, Aaron Amadi-Holloway to Barrow on loan and Jebbison, who was recalled by his parent club Sheffield United.

However, Brewers fans have found a lot to be positive about. “It shows how much strength in depth we have at this level and should, as long as we have enough players in form, give us a chance of a strong finish to this season”, “[Gassan] Ahadme had a good game and looked strong in possession”, “We have thinned out our squad in January but are reasonably strong defensively and have options in midfield.”

However, on the other hand, they have found a few things to be negative about as well.

“As I said, no midfield strength or creativity, but the way we play we don’t need one. We hoof it over them”, “We were the weakest team they had faced”, “The football on offer is so poor.”

Burton Albion 3-1 Bolton Wanderers

“What a brilliant performance. Can't fault anyone out there tonight, great work all round!”, “As a recent critic, well done to the management team tonight. Much prefer [Conor] Shaughnessy in the backline”, “As mentioned above every one of those lads put a shift in tonight. [Ben] Garratt kept goal brilliantly including a fantastic and important save from a free-kick in the first half. 3-1 at that point would’ve been very dangerous. [Ciaran] Gilligan has got one hell of an engine on him.”

“Powell’s set pieces were brilliant. [Michael] Mancienne a lot better than last week at Pompey and closer to what we were used to last season. Massive effort from everyone. If I had to pick a man of the match I’m going for either Brayford or Hamer”, “What a great night at the Pirelli and arguably the best performance of the season so far against a team who were really flying and have had some remarkable wins in the last few weeks. They were quite literally steamrollered in a seven-minute spell early in the game that I think shocked us as much as it did them”, “Shame about the low home crowd but I can understand why after recent games but those who were there will remember that one for some time!”

On Tuesday night, Burton Albion took down a Bolton side that have been on an impressive run of form of six wins in seven games. Burton’s 3-1 win helped them leapfrog Accrington Stanley.

Burton Albion 2-2 Cambridge United

“Fair result between two evenly-matched mid-table teams. Both teams will look at that and think it's a game they could/should have won just based on how average their opponent was”, “Main positive for me, apart from his casual penalty, was the performance of Ahadme who looks like he could develop into a good player at this level”, “Again, no harm done in terms of the bottom four making ground on us, so with a 10-point gap and tomorrow night’s game in hand on Morecambe we are looking comfortable for the time being.”

“We didn't lose and are still 10 points clear of the drop”, “Thought we lacked ambition, from set-up, during the game and the changes we made”, “With the expected amount of rain this week I'd expect the pitch will look like a bog pretty soon. Genuinely though, how has it got this bad? The weather has been fine and I can't see the odd extra women's match making it that much worse. Is the new groundsman not up to the job?”

At the weekend, Burton hosted a Cambridge United side in a mid-table clash at the Pirelli Stadium and played out a 2-2 draw with Williams Kokolo and Ahadme scoring for the Brewers.


“Held firm all evening helped by a couple of blinding saves from Ben Garratt but we created very little at the other end of the pitch”, “I must say, I now take his steady hands completely for granted and it must feel good for the defence to have him behind them”, “Garratt is my player of the season so far.”

Burton’s number one goalkeeper Garratt has featured in every league game this season for the Brewers, keeping six clean sheets in all competitions.

player stats


“Am assuming Brayford can do two games in three days, he might have to sit out tomorrow”, “I think Brayford has maybe another year in him but with Mansfield throwing money around like it's going out of fashion he'll clearly end up there on a big contract”, “At present, we have the outstanding John Brayford as an inspiration.”

player imageOliver Hawkins and John Brayford of Burton Albion

Experienced defender Brayford has found his goalscoring touch this season, scoring five goals from the defence so far, with two coming in the 3-1 Bolton win on Tuesday night.

“I reckon JFH doesn't like [Ryan] Leak much, he's always being shouted at and always first to be dropped”, “Leak still unavailable due to a facial injury”, “I would have played Leak with Hughes and pushed [Adedeji] Oshilaja up in the holding role.”

Picked up from Spanish side Burgos, Leak was a constant fixture in the early weeks of the season, but has been used sporadically since then, with one start in the last nine games.

“Hughes is still only a few games in after missing over a year with injury”, “Great to see Sam Hughes get a goal and he really has slotted back in extremely well”, “Hughes was one of the few successes of Jake’s tenure and I don’t think we’d have signed [Hayden] Carter if Sam didn’t get injured and had to go back to Leicester.”

On loan with Burton last season, Hughes rejoined the club on a season-long loan in August before having his deal turned into a permanent one on deadline day.

“A few nervy moments with Frazer Blake-Tracy in the backline and leaving him as the last line of defence when we have a corner is a disaster waiting to happen”, “Have a feeling Jimmy will give Blake-Tracy a few games to see whether he can improve sufficiently to play at this standard but unfortunately we've seen no evidence as yet that that's the case”, “The problem now is how to get FBT out on a permanent considering he has a two-year deal!”

One of a number of new signings added to the Burton squad this season, Blake-Tracy has struggled for game-time since he left Peterborough United with his start on Saturday his first action since November.

“Great technique from Kokolo for his goal, obviously learned that in the Monaco youth team”, “Kokolo, [Harry] Chapman and Powell linking up could be an exciting watch!”, “Kokolo caught the eye and Powell delivered the kind of performance we know he is capable of.”

Burton signed four new players in January, as well as extending Chapman’s loan deal. One of those was Kokolo, a French left-back from Middlesbrough. Scored on Saturday and has been involved in every game since his arrival.


“If Conor Shaughnessy is back fit (no idea if he is or not), do we go with him over Leak as he has played every minute of every game prior to missing Gillingham?”, “I think Leak has been arguably, alongside Shaughnessy, our best defender this season”, “There was a throw-in in front of the dugouts taken by Shaughnessy (I think) which he though was a foul throw.”

Versatile option Shaughnessy has covered at both centre-back and centre midfield this season, finding himself in the defence more than the midfield. Formed a solid partnership with Leak early in the season.

player stats

“Leak looks great in there with Shaughnessy as they can both win the ball and they have that bit of composure also”, “I suspect Hughes and Shaughnessy could be the first-choice centre-back pairing once Hughes is fit”, “Believe it is so Shaughnessy can be used further forward.”

Recently, he has been playing as the left centre-back in Burton’s 3-5-2 formation, alongside Brayford and Hughes. Has three goals this season.

“In terms of team selection, the only gripe I had was Shaughnessy in centre midfield and Oshilaja in defence. Why swap them round when arguably their best performances this season have been the other way around!”, “Oshilaja off injured”, “Oshilaja looked up for a fight in there too, much better in there than recent centre-back performances I've seen.”

Like Shaughnessy, Oshilaja has showcased his versatility this season in both centre midfield and centre-back. A defensive player by trade, Oshilaja has covered both positions very well.

player stats

“Deji is adaptable and can play across the back or the middle, he gives his all but he does have a mistake in him”, “Personally I’d play Deji in midfield even though he’s a centre-half by trade”, “He’s been colossal in midfield whenever I’ve seen him but he scares me to death in a back three.”

Has missed the last three games due to injury, with what looks to be a slight hamstring problem. Will be looking for his first goal of the season when he returns.


“Would love to see Gilligan and [Terry] Taylor together again in that midfield”, “Great composure from Taylor there”, “It looked to me a little more defensive than that with five across the back and Taylor sitting deep in front.”

Picked up just over a year ago, Taylor has been in and out of the first team all season under Hasselbaink, starting only one of the last five games, having been in the side for the previous four before that.

“Their goals were shocking from our point of view but they were both down to errors from midfielders. One was Mancienne not picking up his man”, “Yeah, I’ll be stunned if Mancienne comes out for the second half. He doesn’t even look half the player he did last season”, “Mancienne hasn't kicked a ball in over six weeks so he's another that could/should be moving on if we can.”

Recently back from injury, Mancienne has started two of the last three games in the middle of the Burton side. Another player, like most of the midfield options at the Brewers, not to have had a sustained run of games, maybe this is the start of that.

“Jacob Maddox is not strong enough for League One”, “Personally I like Maddox and think he is good enough but with Chapman and Powell in the starting XI with him we are not strong enough in winning the ball back”, “I guess Maddox's loan could be converted into a permanent.”

Currently on loan from Portuguese side Vitoria de Guimaraes, Maddox has only featured in one of the last three games. Another midfielder without a goal this season, he finds himself behind Powell and Chapman in the pecking order.

“Not surprised [Charlie] Lakin went off at half-time, not good enough!”, “Lakin a little further forward looked decent but for me his defensive side looked suspect”, “Might as well have played Jebbison from the start instead of Lakin, Lakin didn’t offer much defensively or attacking-wise.”

Snapped up in August from Birmingham City, Lakin was a constant fixture either of the bench or starting each game for a four-month stretch. However, he has only played once since the middle of January.

“I too thought Ahadme looked like he has something about him. Gilligan did well too”, “Young Gilligan performed a great role in the middle”, “Every man put a shift in, Gilligan made some mature decisions.”

Young midfielder Gilligan has come out of the wilderness in recent weeks, starting the last three games having only played twice all season before that.

“The next real key incident was Chapman being clean through with 10 or so minutes left. Just got to score and then it's game back on and we may have the momentum”, “We’re not strong enough with both Chapman and Powell in there as neither retain possession well enough”, “Chapman gets a one-on-one and kicks it straight at the keeper.”

Having been picked up on loan in the summer, Chapman was recalled by Blackburn Rovers at the beginning of January. However, he couldn’t force his way into the Rovers side and finds himself back at the Pirelli Stadium with the number 10 on his back.

“Cameron Borthwick-Jackson showing he wasn't happy all game. Was it an effort to try to toughen him? His substitution came after he tickled the advertising boards but he had been showing he was uncomfortable all game”, “CBJ might be a nice lad, I am sure he has talent, but he was showing from early doors he had a poorly leg”, “CBJ has played well of late and we have a wealth of defensive players.”

Ex-Manchester United midfielder Borthwick-Jackson has played across multiple positions this season, including the defence and the midfield. Recently found in the left midfield spot, Borthwick-Jackson missed the last game due to concussion protocols.


“As for Hamer, I'd be opening contract talks”, “Hughes, Brayford and Hamer must be battered, the amount of blocks they stopped”, “I agree about Hamer, I'd be signing him up too. Problem is, he probably has ambitions to play at a higher level.”

Twenty-two-year-old wing-back Hamer has been impressive for Burton this season, missing only two games in all competitions. Used across multiple positions, Hamer has found a new home on the right of the midfield four.

player stats

“I've heard a few whispers that a couple of top-end Championship clubs and a Premier League side have been keeping tabs on Tom Hamer. He's under contract until the summer of 2023, I believe”, “I genuinely think Hamer could make it to the top of the Championship, maybe even Premier League standard”, “Hamer and Borthwick-Jackson were playing so high up the pitch in the first half that there is no way we were playing with five at the back.”

With one goal and three assists to his name, Hamer will be looking to make more of an impact in the attacking third, as much as he has done in the defensive end.

Centre Midfielder

“The other was Powell momentarily losing his mind and forgetting which way he was facing”, “Powell is a decent player but as I’ve mentioned before, I think he’s better coming off the bench!”, “Powell is an attacker but forced to play deep most of the time, however he did have a good run or two down the wing.”

Goalscoring midfielder Powell scored the opener against Town back in August, one of four goals he has scored this season. His most recent was the opener against Bolton on Tuesday night.

player stats

“Joe Powell is 50/50, he's clearly a talented lad but it wouldn't surprise me if he were to move on for a fresh start”, “Kokolo caught the eye and Powell delivered the kind of performance we know he is capable of”, “You’re right, Powell was fantastic. I don’t think I could pick a man of the match, they were all amazing.”

Usually found in front of the two centre midfield players, Powell hasn’t reached the heights that he did last season, when he scored nine goals and picked up nine assists.


“Jonny Smith off for a scan today on an injury as well which explains why he wasn’t on the bench Saturday”, “As good as Smith is, (he might still not be 100 per cent fit) if we persist with our current formation I suspect he is on borrowed time and could go in the summer”, “Play Smith up top with someone.”

Impressive winger Smith has five goals this season, but hasn’t featured since the 3-1 victory over Gillingham in early January. Has been out with a calf injury, but could return on Saturday.

“Think [Louis] Moult is just getting back into things but he’s best with the ball played into feet”, “I thought Moult looked short of pace, although that’s not his game I guess I'd be interested in seeing [Christian] Saydee and Ahadme get a go together”, “Not exactly sure at this stage what Moult's strengths are, just alright at a few things at the moment, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt as he tries to get back match fit.”

Experienced striker Moult has been dealing with a number of injuries over the past few years with his Burton career not off the ground yet having only played his first competitive games for the club in January.

player imageLouis Moult

“I too thought Ahadme looked like he has something about him”, “I thought Ahadme battled well up front”, “I think Ahadme just needs a goal to kick-start… it’s good to have a few options though especially after the forward exits over the past two weeks.”

Previously on loan with Portsmouth, Ahadme left Pompey to move to Burton Albion on a permanent deal from Norwich City. Scored a penalty against Cambridge United and is tasked with leading them up the table after the recall of Jebbison by the Blades.

“We’ve offered so little up top we might as well put Saydee on for him”, “I am looking forward to seeing more of Saydee”, “It was not until Saydee came on that we showed any passion. He looked useful and it will be good to see him and Ahadme play together - providing, of course, we can get the ball to them.”

On loan from AFC Bournemouth, Saydee made his first start against Bolton, having come off the bench in the previous three. Still yet to score for the club, likely to be starting on Saturday.

Burton Albion Fans on ITFC

“At the end of the day just look at the kind of teams we are playing, Sheff Wed, Portsmouth, Ipswich, Sunderland, and no-one has taken us to the cleaners”, “I've been to a couple of home games since Ipswich. Ipswich was very good. Enjoyed the game”, “The great wins against Sunderland, Ipswich and Portsmouth offset the disappointing performances against the likes of Crewe and Lincoln”, “I suppose with the likes of Sunderland and Ipswich both getting beat today we’re not doing too bad and every point is a step forward.”

Last Time Out — Burton Albion 2-1 Ipswich Town

“Agree with the majority of what has been said so far and I am absolutely delighted with six points from two games so far although thought we rode our luck today. I've said before that there are lots of games at this level that are so tight and the difference between the haves and have nots is those that can edge tight games”, “We might have had a problem if Ipswich's undoubtedly talented players had spent more time concentrating on actually playing”, “I thought we took the first half. Dominated Ipswich for periods capped by a wonderful move and well taken goal by Joe Powell. Probably the only chance of the game. Couldn’t fault the effort one jot. Second half Ipswich came back into it and took more control of the game. We defended resolutely, sneaked the goal and won the game.”

“A thrilling game from start to finish with two evenly-matched sides going at it hammer and tongs”, “A fully deserved victory against one of the favourites for promotion. Man of the match for me was Lucas Akins but credit to the whole team who look to be supremely fit and determined to do well this season”, “Agreed, perhaps a bit fortunate to get the win but we had to battle the officiating team at times as well as Ipswich so think we were good value for it.”

Back in August, after a disappointing opening day draw to Morecambe, Town were pushed further down the table with another disappointing display at Burton Albion, capped off by Scott Fraser’s missed penalty.


The only forum for a Burton Albion fan is Brewed in 1950, a comprehensive area for all Burton fans to dive into and discuss all aspects of the club.

Matchday Images and Action Images

Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.

Bazza8564 added 16:17 - Feb 18
Total respect to JFH, hes been prepared to knuckle down at a modest level having played at the very highest, all credit to him.
However, I stood behind the goal at Burton in August, a game we controlled for the greater part and somehow contrived to lose. It leaves me with the feeling we owe them a bit of payback tomorrow.....

You need to login in order to post your comments

Ipswich Town Polls

About Us Contact Us Terms & Conditions Privacy Cookies Advertising
© TWTD 1995-2024