'Boro v Burton - Opposition Preview'
Burton Albion head to the Riverside tonight to face Middlesbrough FC in the first Tuesday night game of the season.
We spoke to @bafc_fans ahead of the game about the summer break, expectations going into the new season and the Boro fixture.
"Our summer break has been an interesting one. Our first signing was Matty Lund, a defensive midfielder (who has recently been playing at right back for us) from Rochdale, known as a goalscoring midfielder... He scored 3 goals within 3 games in pre-season and also scored in our 2-3 victory over Oldham Athletic in the Carabao Cup."
"We made our record signing in the summer, signing Liam Boyce, a striker from Ross County who beat the likes of Scott Sinclair and Moussa Dembele to the Scottish Premier League (SPL) top goalscorer with 23 goals. He was unfortunately injured against Shrewsbury in pre-season and has been ruled out for the majority of this season, which was a massive blow for us and has left us in a difficult situation with scoring goals in the league."
"We've signed two defenders - Jake Buxton and Stephen Warnock from Wigan who were relegated last season, but conceded less goals than most teams in the bottom half of the table. However, with more injury troubles, Stephen Warnock was subbed off on Saturday vs Hull City within the first 5 minutes and is very unlikely to feature against Boro."
"Another one of our many signings was Hope Apkan from Blackburn Rovers who really impressed in pre-season, scoring an excellent header against former Premier League champions, Leicester City."
"One signing Boro fans will be aware of is Connor Ripley on loan, who got the most clean sheets in League One last season but will not be available against his parent club, so expect the likes of Stephen Bywater in goal for Burton. One signing Burton fans didn't see coming was the return of defender Tom Flanagan, who recently signed for us just over a month after leaving us despite verbally agreeing a contract the day before, which did not fail to disappoint Burton fans."
"In terms of expectations, the Brewers have no expectations at all. Having just come up to the football league in 2009, and achieving back to back promotions from League Two to the Championship in the 14/15 and 15/16 season. Being tipped to go down last season being one of the smallest clubs to ever play in the Championship, we defied the odds yet again last season after achieving Championship survival. We've been tipped (again) to be relegated this season and we'll be looking to defy the odds once again. Having a smaller fan base than some League Two clubs with an average attendance of around 5,000, we have no expectations at all."
"Our first game was a 0-1 loss to a late winner from Cardiff City, which was a very dull game. We lacked creativity all game and fans were left frustrated with such a disappointing end to a game. We were defeated 4-1 on Saturday away at Hull City where we conceded to a very early goal but fought back superbly to equalise with a stunning finish from Jackson Irvine, curled into the top corner. Luckily for Boro fans, he was sent off shortly after scoring, receiving a second yellow and will be suspended for Tuesday night's game."
When asked which key Burton players Boro should look out for, @bafc_fans said "our player of the season from last season, Jackson Irvine would be one to look out for, but having received a second yellow card on Saturday against Hull, he will be suspended for Tuesday night's game - a massive blow for Burton."
"Lucas Akins was one to watch against Hull City in the first half. He can play striker but is mostly played as a right midfielder, and is known for his strength, hold up play and seemed to open a lot of gaps in the left side of Hull's defence. Another player to look out for is Lloyd Dyer. The left winger is one of the fastest players to ever wear a Burton shirt and is very well known for dribbling and sprinting past defenders down the line, can put a decent ball in the box and can certainly finish."
"Our centre-mid, Luke Murphy had a good game against Hull City. He never stopped working for Burton and tried to get as involved as possible. The final player to look out for would be young Joe Sbarra. The former academy player signed his first professional contract towards the end of last season and made his debut against Reading at the end of last season, showing incredible, quick dribbling and grabbing an assist. He impressed in pre-season and could arguably turn out to be one of Burton's best players if he continues to play that way."
"Sbarra was reportedly tracked by Southampton and I think we will struggle to keep him at the end of the season. He's only 18 and is a very small player, and will most likely be subbed on in the second half as he was in both league games this season. Expect him to run at the Middlesborough defence with speed and agility when he comes on... he will take advantage of a tired defence."
Predicted Line Up and Formation
"We usually play with three centre-backs and two wing backs, three centre-mids and two strikers. We will be without last years player of the season Jackson Irvine due to suspension and our left-back Stephen Warnock due to injury. Lloyd Dyer could take his place at left-wing back, meaning we are likely to play a very counter attacking style of play down the left wing. Our striker Marvin Sordell is a doubt for us as he was subbed off in the 55th minute after picking up a knock."
"One thing to note is that we are heavily linked with signing striker Cauley Woodrow on loan from Fulham, who was on loan to us at the end of last season and played a huge part in our survival. He may well be announced before the game and if so, he will most likely start for us."
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"As much as I hate to say it, I can't see it going well for us. 3-1 to Boro."
"We were shocking in the second half against Hull on Saturday and it will have hit our players both physically and mentally. We did however surprise a few last season. beating the likes of Norwich City, Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday, promoted Huddersfield and doing the double over Birmingham City and we are known to defy the odds... so I wouldn't get to confident. ;)"