Opposition insight: Burton Albion's Chelsea and Manchester United loan players are injury doubts for Chesterfield visit

Burton Albion's new Chelsea and Manchester United loan signings are injury doubts for Saturday's visit to Chesterfield.

Thursday, 25th July 2019, 10:11 am
Burton Albion boss Nigel Clough

Nigel Clough is expected to field a strong side at the Proact, for the final pre-season fixture of the summer.

But Burton Mail writer Joshua Murray says Clough is already having to deal with a spate of injuries ahead of the new season.

"As Albion's final first-team friendly of the summer, a week out from the opening day of the League One season, Nigel Clough is keen to name as close to his first-choice XI as possible," he said.

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"But several injuries in the squad are likely to force his hand, especially as that has meant other senior players have been made to play more minutes by this stage of the summer than they may have initially intended.

"I would still expect a strong Burton side to start the game - but at this point, Kieran O'Hara, Richard Nartey and David Templeton all look likely to miss out, and they are three likely starters when every player is fit.

"I'll go with a Burton starting XI of: Bywater, Brayford, O'Toole, Buxton, Hutchinson, Quinn, Fraser, Edwards, Sbarra, Boyce, Akins ."

Five new faces have arrived at the Pirelli this summer, but not all will feature this weekend.

"Central midfielder Ryan Edwards was the most recent arrival, on Tuesday," said Murray.

"The dynamic Australian will be hopeful of earning his first outing for the Brewers at the Proact, subject to international clearance this week.

"They have added players across the pitch, given Albion's small squad size and a few departures.

"Manchester United goalkeeper O'Hara and Chelsea centre-half Nartey have both joined on loan and look well set to play key roles in the coming campaign - although both are injury doubts for Saturday.

"Experienced midfielder John-Joe O'Toole has been brought in to add aggression and an impact in both boxes, while young Scottish defender Jevan Anderson arrives from Scottish fifth-tier side Formartine United. He is seen as a more long-term project at the Pirelli Stadium."

Like Tuesday's visitors Sheffield United, Clough's Burton will look to dominate the ball on Saturday.

Murray said: "Burton play a possession-based style of football, where they look to play from the back and open teams up with accurate passing and dynamic running from their midfielders and wide forwards.

"Stephen Quinn has a key role from the base of midfield, where he pulls the strings and spreads play right and left, allowing the more advanced players to get up in attack."

Clough finds himself in the same boat as Spireites manager John Sheridan as pre-season winds to a close.

The pair are both still looking to strengthen their squads and add the final pieces of the puzzle.

"With Albion's summer business not yet complete, it is hard to know exactly how they will look at the start of September," said Murray.

"Talk among the squad is about targeting a sustained push for the top six, and if they can rediscover their form from the back-end of last season, that is certainly not out of the question.

"They possess some high-quality players and play an exciting brand of football - but they lacked consistency for too long in 2018-19, and they'll have to be harder to beat this time around.

"If they can add a couple more faces and retain the players they have now, they will be looking to build on last season's ninth-placed finish."