Barnet Mad previews tomorrow's match at the Pirelli StadiumBarnet travel to the Pirelli Stadium to play Burton Albion tomorrow afternoon, in a League Two match. It is the first time the two clubs have met since December 2007 when the two clubs were drawn together in the FA Cup 2nd round. That time, Barnet won a replayed tie, 1-0 after extra time, at Underhill, Adam Birchall scoring.
The Brewers have made a good start to their first ever League Two campaign and are currently placed in 10th place in the table. They have won three and lost two of their home matches and also drawn one. Away from home they have won, drawn and lost two matches. Burton are on quite a good run at the moment too having won both their last two matches; an impressive 1-0 win over Rochdale in their last home match and a 2-1 win at Grimsby last Saturday. Their last defeat was at the end of September when they lost 1-0 away at Bournemouth.
Burton are managed by Paul Peschisolido who took over in the summer following the departure of former Derby County and England star, Roy McFarland. Last season, Nigel Clough took them to the top of the Blue Square Premier and when he left the club to become the manager of Derby County, they had a 13 point lead. In the end, the Brewers just scrambled to the title on the last day of the season, but Peschisolido has done a fine job so far in his first outing as a manager.
Burton have some long serving players at the club. Darren Stride and Aaron Webster began at Burton when the club played at Eton Park and were playing Southern League Football. During the summer, Peschisolido brought a number of new players to the club including the experienced and much travelled centre back, Guy Branston from Kettering Town. Another experienced new defender is the former Derby and Walsall player, Paul Boertien.
In midfield, Burton have added the highly rated Kidderminster player, Russell Penn, who has played under Paul Fairclough for the England 'C' team and ex Stoke City trainee, Jimmy Phillips. Up front, the former Bristol Rovers striker, Richard Walker has joined. Walker spent some time on loan from the Pirates at Shrewsbury Town last season and having helped Bristol Rovers win promotion from League Two in 2007, he knows his way about this division. Walker could start tomorrow alongside either Shaun Harrad, who had a penalty saved by Lee Harrison in the only other meeting between the two sides to be played at the Pirelli Stadium or Greg Pearson, who had a loan spell with the Bees in 2004. It was Pearson who won the penalty in the home match with Burton Albion, that Ian Hendon put away to keep the Bees on track for the Conference play-offs in 2003/04. The photographs of Hendon's celebrations after scoring the penalty, that gave the Bees a 2-1 win, are some of the most iconic in Barnet's recent history.
After losing their last two away matches, Hendon, now of course, Barnet's manager, will be looking for the club to resume the away from of earlier in the season when the Bees won at Torquay and Northampton. Barnet will be without Joe Devera, who was injured in the match at Rochdale and Ryan O'Neill is likely to deputise for him. In midfield, Mark Hughes misses out through suspension, having picked up five yellow cards so far this season. Hendon will have to choose between Joe Tabiri, Nicky Deverdics and, possibly, Clovis Kamdjo to replace Hughes. The Bees' manager must also decide whether or not to give Albert Jarrett and Jake Hyde, who played so well after coming on at Rochdale last weekend, a place in the starting eleven. Tough choices for Hendon. One player who will not be on the bench is striker, Elliott Charles who has moved to Blue Square Premier club, Ebbsfleet on a month's loan.
Burton are likely to be without left back, Paul Boertien who is suffering from an injured knee and a cut above the eye, suffered in last weekend's match at Grimsby. His absence could mean a first league match for long serving player, Aaron Webster. Former Scarborough winger, Keith Gilroy who has missed the start of the season due to injury is fit to join the squad for tomorrow's match.
The Bees will be very keen to get something from this match after three consecutive away defeats, including the JPT defeat at Charlton. However, it would certainly be a mistake to think that Burton will be fodder. They have become a solid looking League Two outfit and the match at the Pirelli Stadium could be just as hard as the one at Rochdale.
Barnet Mad made a rare bad prediction for last Saturday's match at Rochdale, going for a draw. However, it was a close call and with a pretty good record so far this season, we are confident in our prediction that Barnet will get back to winning ways away from home against the Brewers. We're going for a 2-1 win for the Bees to keep Barnet up there in the promotion battle.