Burton Albion‘s historic winning run came to an end with an exciting draw at Blackpool at Bloomfield Road on Tuesday evening. It marked the first time the Brewers have scored a goal and not won the game in Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink‘s second reign in charge.
Burton’s Winning Run Ends With Draw at Blackpool
Joe Powell Pushing for a Start
Despite starting just two games since Hasselbaink took over in January, Joe Powell leads the team in assists and is second for combined goals and assists. Powell, who was signed from West Ham United in January last year, has often been criticized for his lack of defensive effort but during the latter stages at Bloomfield Road, he was Burton’s most active player in closing down Blackpool and helped Burton secure a key point on the road to extend their unbeaten run to seven.
The 22-year old was introduced as a 14th-minute substitute for the injured Danny Rowe so Hasselbaink and Dino Maamria would’ve got a good idea of how he can fit into the starting line-up. Along with his hard-work defensively, Powell registered three key passes and set up Carter with a beautiful cross for the goal. The 22-year old’s performance has proved he can be more than just a creative spark off the bench and it may be worth giving him a go from the start.
The Schedule Is Starting to Take Its Toll
After a great first half where Burton played some of the best football they’ve played all season, The Brewers will be disappointed to come away with a point but it was all they deserved in the end. In the second half, Burton looked fatigued and the usual dominant pair of Ryan Edwards and Sean Clare lost the midfield battle. This may have partly been down to the strong winds in Blackpool but Burton failed to respond to Blackpool’s high energy after the break. Danny Rowe’s early injury also added him to an injury list that includes Michael Bostwick.
The Brewers’ fixture schedule has been hard on them since the 2-0 win over Northampton Town. The League One side has played in every midweek slot and every weekend since. This gives Hasselbaink little time to train his players and more importantly precious little time for them to recover. Burton still has four-midweek games to contend with before the end of the season and three games before they get a full week to recover. It’s important for Burton to not lose their way during this run to maintain the gap to the bottom that they’ve worked so hard to create.
Hayden Carter Scores Again
Hayden Carter has been on fire in recent weeks and the on-loan Blackburn Rovers defender continued his form with a fine header from Powell’s delivery. Although the goal came down his side, there was nothing he could’ve about it and his fine defending helped Burton to a point. Carter could’ve scored just before his goal but glanced his header just wide on that occasion. As Blackburn continues to struggle, management at Ewood Park must be keeping a close eye on their inform centre-back.
Burton Still Need More Depth Upfront
Burton’s attack struggled against Blackpool. Kane Hemmings looked energetic and caused problems but failed to score any of his two shots on goal while Lucas Akins was excellent in his hold up play winning all six of his aerial duels but made only eight passes (32%). The usually energetic Jonny Smith found his battle against Luke Garbutt difficult both offensively and defensively. The fact Burton’s attack was this poor but Hasselbaink made just one sub all game showed Burton may need to look for some better depth upfront.
Mike Fondop has scored once in his four starts but Tuesday’s match required a more technical player than Fondop is. Danny Rowe is now injured and January signings Ryan Broom and Josh Parker have so far failed to impress. This leaves Hasselbaink no way to motivate players with competition and if performance does drop it may be hard to get Burton going again.
Playoff Push Is Too Hopeful
After six successive wins, many Burton fans were optimistic about a late push for the playoffs but with just 12 games left to play it would be an incredibly hard task to complete. Hasselbaink’s side sits 18th with 41 points and two games in hand on Charlton Athletic, who sit 6th and occupy the last playoff position. With Charlton having 55 points, Burton has 14 points to make up in 12 games. The Brewers’ also have 12 teams to pass before they get to 6th and surely not all of them will collapse to allow Burton to make up the ground needed.
A realistic aim for Burton would be to first secure their survival and then look to sneak into the top half of the table. They are nine points from 12th placed Blackpool and still just seven from the relegation zone. Getting 12th would be the same finish as last season and show despite the two seasons being totally different Burton is an established League One club. They can start moving upwards and eye a run at the playoffs next season under Hasselbaink and Maamria.
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