This is another huge game at the foot of the Sky Bet Championship table, with Latics looking to claw back the deficit that stands between them and the relative safety of Burton in 21st place to just three points. Burton will view the match, on the other hand, as a way of putting a bit more daylight between the teams, and push the gap up to nine points…so this is a veritable six pointer as the saying goes. Burton have lost their last three at home, but they will undoubtedly be looking at this as an opportunity to put that right, and Latics will need to be aware of their threat.
Nigel Clough is proving to be as inspirational a leader in his second spell as he was the first time round when he spent eleven years with the Brewers before joining Derby County in January 2009, just prior to the promotion into the Football League which he did so much to inspire. Having taken over from Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink mid-way through last season’s League One campaign, he maintained the team’s momentum and led them to their first ever season in the Championship.
Nigel Clough, inspirational figure for Burton
For Latics, Warren Joyce will be looking to build on last weekend’s much needed victory against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup and take that into this contest. All the talk will be of this being ‘just another game’ and Joyce and his men will rightly approach the game in that way…the supporters on both sides of the stadium will be looking at it somewhat differently, however…
For Latics, Joyce will need to decide if he continues with Jakob Haugaard in goal or recalls Jussi Jaaskelainen after the on-loan Denmark Under 20 international kept a clean sheet and saved a penalty in his debut for the club last weekend in the FA Cup against Nottingham Forest. Nick Powell has been ruled out for at least a month after pulling up early against Forest, another big blow. David Perkins, Craig Morgan and Andy Kellett are all likely to miss out, Joyce confirmed in his pre-match press briefing, alongside the long-term injured players like Donervon Daniels, Reece James and Alex Gilbey.
Nick Powell, further injury woe
For Burton, Marvin Sordell is yet to see any action after moving to the club from Coventry City, he was an unused substitute in the 1-0 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion and was cup tied against Watford. Jackson Irvine (groin), Ben Turner (hamstring), Chris O'Grady (hamstring) and Will Miller (hamstring) are still doubtful for the match, Luke Varney is set to miss out with a punctured lung.
SEASON SO FAR
The Brewers have taken to the Sky Bet Championship better than most predicted, the momentum they have gained as a club through two quick promotions helping them to a good start.
However, at the half-way stage of the campaign, they currently sit just outside the bottom three with just one win in their last six league matches – at bottom club Rotherham United – which is the kind of slide in form that Clough will be looking to arrest on Saturday.
Most of their points have come at the Pirelli, Rotherham was their first and only away win all season. Aside from four draws, they have lost their other games on the road. However, they have notched five victories and two draws from their 12 games at home, beating Sheffield Wednesday, Derby, Birmingham, Cardiff City and Rotherham.
The Pirelli Stadium is a tight ground, Latics experienced its fierce atmosphere last season and will know exactly what to expect.
As far as the Football League goes, this fixture has the least history in terms of past games; there have only ever been three games between the sides – and in fact The Brewers are the ONLY side Latics have faced in a League fixture and not beaten.
Burton were only promoted to League Two in 2009 and last season’s League One matches were the first between the sides in a league fixture. The Brewers enjoyed a narrow 1-0 victory at the DW Stadium in November and the teams fought out the tense 1-1 draw in April with both teams vying for promotion. Relive the action from that night here:
The match at the DW Stadium earlier this season was another draw, a forgettable 0-0, the only other fixture between the sides in recent times being a 2-1 win for Burton at the Pirelli in August 2014, when Uwe Rosler took a much changed side to Staffordshire for a Capital One Second Round tie.
PLAYED FOR BOTH CLUBS
Jake Buxton: The only know member of 'played for both sides' club!
This is also a very short list, comprising just one that we can find – if anyone has any other links, please contact the club! Latics’ centre-half Jake Buxton played at Burton in their final season in the Football Conference before following Nigel Clough to Derby. This will mark his first competitive return to the stadium.
Former Latics trainee Phil Edwards played 132 league games for Burton but left the DW Stadium without making an appearance; so doesn’t really count…
Phil Edwards, never played first team game for Latics