As our season resumes yet again, we check in with Brewers fan Derek Wainwright to get a fan’s eye view on our next opponents.
When we last met just before Christmas, you were in the midst of a bit of a rough run but hopeful of pushing on towards the play-offs. Are you disappointed that things haven’t panned out like that? Our season has been so inconsistent and frustrating. After losing to Wycombe, we had had a run of mostly wins but also lost deservedly to Northampton in the FA Cup early in the new year. We also lost our striker Liam Boyce to Hearts in the transfer window. We hoped he would be directly replaced with a real striker, but maybe we couldn’t get one or one wasn’t available with our budget.
However, new signings have come in and we are scoring goals from other parts of the team. Winger Jamie Murphy (on loan from Rangers ) has been scoring for fun [seven goals in ten appearances], but our defence has now gone from one of the meanest to one leaking goals. Even our normally excellent keeper Kieran O’Hara (on loan from Man United) has had a big wobble in his form [and is currently banned for biting]. Last week, we led twice at Lincoln with goals from the impressive Joe Powell (midfielder recently signed from West Ham ) but lost 3-2. So to sum up, yes, everyone is disappointed that the talented team hasn’t been more consistent – play-offs at least could have been achieved.
Overall, though, do you feel it’s been a successful season for Burton? You seem to have given yourself a good foundation to challenge for promotion to the Championship again in the next season or two. For Burton to be mid-table in League One is an achievement and therefore could be considered a success – but having been in the Championship, expectations have been raised and we want to be back up there again. We do have a squad which with a couple of additions is good enough to challenge, but we always lose players in the close-season (I expect [playmaker and assist machine] Scott Fraser to leave and was surprised he didn’t go in January to maybe Cardiff ). A rebuild may be required again, so who knows, but it’s the hope that kills you.
There was a small but vocal minority of your fans calling for Nigel Clough to go after our last meeting. I get the feeling that’s not the general attitude among supporters, but are you confident that he’s still the right man for the job? All fans get frustrated when results don’t go their team’s way. Generally, we have played some good football and it’s been entertaining to watch. If fans pay their money, they are entitled to their opinion. Personally, I believe Clough is the right man for the club and the job. He attracts players that our budget alone doesn’t attract, as well as loan players from Premier League clubs. Be careful what you wish for sometimes; some clubs local to us have replaced their managers and have suffered as a result.
Who have been your star players this season and why? Anyone who’s emerged over the last few months who you might not have mentioned before? Jake Buxton has stood out in defence again. Since losing him to injury, we have missed his leadership, organisation and commitment. [Combative midfielder] Stephen Quinn is always my first name on the team sheet. He does all the ugly things brilliantly and more – he will win my vote for player of the season.
Last of all, how do you see the game going? Feel free to make a score prediction if you like! There will be goals, that’s for sure ( famous last words). I think it will be another 3-2, but to who I can’t tell you. Best wishes for the rest of the season.