When Jimmy Hasselbaink returned to the helm of Burton Albion Football Club on New Year’s Day, the excitement in and around Pirelli Stadium mixed with renewed expectations of what he might be able to bring to the club this time around, certainly had players and supporters alike buzzing for what many believed would be a “Happy New Year”.
With the Brewers firmly ensconced in the relegation zone, anchored to the foot of the Sky Bet League One table when he arrived, the former Dutch international quickly began to work his magic lifting the club to a mid-table by the end of the season, and securing safety heading his first full season back at the helm.
Burton Albion are a club that has experienced the highs of participating in the EFL Championship, all the way down to the lows of having dropped out of the Football League altogether. They earned promotion back to the EFL in 2009 as they were crowned champions of the National League under former player-manager Nigel Clough.
Entering the weekend’s match with Rovers, Burton Albion currently sit 12th in the table with 25 points, level on points with Bolton Wanderers. This season, the Brewers have won seven, lost eight and recorded four draws in League One. Across the past 15 matches, they have won six, lost eight and picked up one draw across all competitions.
Virtually everything about Burton Albion says the Brewers are stable as a mid-table team to this point in the campaign.
Hasselbaink’s side has scored 20 goals in League One play this season and conceded 23. Burton Albion have won three matches by a 1-0 decision, while suffering 1-0 defeats in two contests. They have also drawn four 1-1 matches on the season.
Goalscoring form has picked up in November. The Brewers have picked up three wins, and scored 11 goals this month. This includes a 4-0 win over Accrington Stanley at Pirelli Stadium on Tuesday evening, as well as a 5-0 win away from home against Wycombe Wanderers in the Papa John’s Trophy. In that contest, Daniel Jebbison bagged a brace for the Brewers, giving him a team-high matching four goals scored this season alongside teammate Thomas O’Connor. Of the nine goal-scorers this season for the Brewers, seven of them have scored more than one goal in the campaign. Lucas Akins and Jonny Smith sit just behind Jebbison and O’Connor with three goals apiece. Akins and Smith also anchor the midfield tied for the team-lead with three assists a piece as well.
Burton Albion and Rovers have met nine times since 2013/14, with Rovers winning two, losing two and collecting five draws. In September 2015, the two clubs met in the Papa John’s Trophy, with Rovers winning on penalties (5-3) as the team’s battled to a 0-0 draw after the full-time whistle.