One of the biggest surprises of last weekend was Burton’s 3-0 loss at Cambridge, a result the market didn’t predict, nor me as I left the game alone, but the Brewers have been fairly reliable under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and look a half-decent price for Friday’s Sky game against newly promoted Cheltenham.
Reliability and perhaps predictability can be attributed to Burton, as most managers who come up against them find their style hard to deal with. Long balls are effective,
and they defend with great organisation in numbers. The tactics worked well in a golden February to March last term – winning eight of their nine games, but I worry long term whether sides will work them out.
However, I’m not too worried about this for Friday as Cheltenham’s Achilles’ heel so far has been their inability to defend set-pieces and in particular corners. That reared its ugly head in Saturday’s loss at Fleetwood and Robins’
boss Michael Duff will be fearful of that strength for Friday’s opponents. Duff got his tactics right against Ipswich in their best display of the season with three at the back and narrow wing-backs, and they haven’t been cut open by any team this term.
They decided to ask a forward play as a centre-half against Arsenal, which spooked the attacker as he’d never featured at the back. But,
he came up against a highly-rated forward and they wanted their player to learn runs, movement and positioning against someone of real quality. The result didn’t matter (like some clubs at the time), it was all about developing. Manning has that way.
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However, he’ll need to cut out the early goal. Under Russell Martin it was a real problem, and under Manning’s watch they have shipped in first in three of their four games – on 15, 16 and 42 minutes. That does offer up the chance to wait for a bigger price in-play though if they concede first.
Manning has a lot of attacking options with Mo Eisa and Troy Parrott already forming a good partnership, and in Scott Twine they have a player with long-range quality. In fact, he’ll shoot from anywhere
it seems and he was famed for his prowess with Swindon – scoring one cracker from distance against Ipswich in a live Sky game. Twine has added another aspect to their all-out possession game and I will be staggered if the hosts can’t score here.