Thursday, 5 September 2013

U's hope for points rather than pints at the Brewers

Chris Wilder's men travel to the Pirelli Stadium to face Burton Albion on Saturday. After a 4-0 hammering in last season's fixture, the United boss will hope his side put in a better performance this time round. Despite being early in the season, this is a big game for the U's, Burton currently sit one place below them on goal difference having both taken 11 points from their opening 5 games and remaining unbeaten.

The game against Oxford will be Burton's fourth at home this campaign following on from a 1-0 victory against Rochdale, a 2-2 draw against Bury and a penalty shootout defeat to Premier League Fulham in the league cup. They left it late against Bury with two goals in the last seven minutes to claim a point whilst a single goal against ten-man Rochdale was enough to claim all three points. In theory, Oxford should provide a sterner test but an unconvincing point at the Kassam Stadium against Rochdale has left some U's fans doubtful about their sides ability to be in the promotion mix.

Since the 4-0 debacle almost a year ago, Burton have lost last seasons star performers Jacques Maghoma and Calvin Zola to Sheffield Wednesday and Aberdeen repspectively. In a bid to replace their goals, boss Gary Rowett signed former Torquay top scorer Rene Howe, Leyton Orient's Michael Symes following a loan spell at the back end of last season and former Tranmere player Adam McGurk. Cult hero Billy Kee also remains at the Brewers but hasn't featured very often this season due to injury. In the midfield, the impressive duo of Lee Bell and Robbie Weir remain although Weir has had to make do with a place on the bench in recent weeks. Other stand out signings for Rowett included Chris Hussey - the former Coventry and Wimbledon left sided player and Rory Delap - the ex Derby and Stoke stalwart with the famous long throw. The Brewers starting XI looks strong on paper but beyond the first eleven, the squad looks paper thin.

As for Oxford, the headline signings of Dave Kitson and Jonny Mullins joined the returning Danny Rose and Asa Hall and fellow newbies David Hunt and Tom Newey as well as loanee Ryan Williams. However, it has not been the experienced Kitson who has taken the plaudits thus far, Deane Smalley is top scorer with three goals in four appearances whilst Rose, Mullins, Alfie Potter and James Constable have all scored two each.

Team News
Brewers: Boss Gary Rowett rested a few players for the narrow 1-0 defeat to Notts County in Tuesday nights Johnstone's Paint Trophy game. Lee Bell, Chris Hussey, Rory Delap, Rene Howe and Adam McGurk are all expected to return to the starting line-up whilst goalkeepr Dean Lyness should continue his recent run in the first team.
Possible Line-Up: Lyness, Delap, Sharps, McCrory, Holness, Hussey, Bell, Reed, McGurk, Howe, Symes.
On The Bench: from Morch, Edwards, Weir, Phillips, Dyer, Palmer, Knowles, Harness, Slade, Kee
U's: Deane Smalley should return to the Oxford squad after missing the past two matches with a tight hamstring and Dave Kitson is thought to be over illness which reduced his game time to 55 minutes against Rochdale. James Constable will hope to start from the beginning following his goal last week whilst Asa Hall may be sacrificed for a more natural winger in the shape of Callum O'Dowda or Ryan Williams. Sean Rigg and Jonathan Meades remain sidelined which will see members of the new development squad continue to feature on the substitutes bench.
Possible Line-Up: Clarke, Hunt, Wright, Mullins, Newey, Williams, Whing, Rose, Potter, Kitson, Constable.
On The Bench: from Crocombe, Raynes, Davies, Hall, Ruffels, O'Dowda, Smalley, Marsh

Captainox's Prediction: Burton Albion 2-2 Oxford United

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