Burton Albion manager, Nigel Clough admits to tiredness and ‘knocks’ within the Brewers ranks, suggesting that his team selection against Newcastle may be made with ‘one eye’ on the rest of the season.
While Clough’s side gained a huge three points away to Huddersfield over the weekend, doing the Magpies a big favour in the process, it seems the side’s efforts on Saturday and the International break have taken its toll on some of his players.
Talking to the Burton Mail yesterday, Clough gave the following fitness update ahead of his side’s trip to Tyneside
“John Brayford, Kyle McFadzean and Tom Flanagan took knocks on Saturday, Lucas Akins picked up one in training yesterday.
“We will still have to see how Jackson Irvine is in terms of jet lag. We still need to keep an eye on him.
“As good as international football is, Cauley Woodrow and Lasse Vigen Christensen are also tired and it’s a nightmare for club managers. They have trained and played instead of resting and I think you saw that on Saturday.
With four players suffering knocks following their outstanding 1-0 win at Huddersfield, it seems their mammoth effort on Saturday has come with a cost, boding well for Newcastle who could face a battle-scarred Burton side tonight.
“We have Aston Villa two days later so it’s whether you deal with Newcastle in isolation or you have one eye on Saturday.
“But the fact that we have a largely fully fit squad is credit to the work the players have done stretching right back to pre-season and the work we do on a daily basis.
“Even if we aren’t as good as some teams we can be as fit and more committed.
“It’s important we don’t lose anybody between now and the end of the season.
“The Huddersfield win also gave us that little more belief that despite some tough away games we can get results on the road.”
With the opening line in mind, it will be interesting to see what sort of team Burton line up with tonight and the energy levels their team can produce.
Clough’s side will arrive to St. James’ Park tonight full of confidence, hoping for another upset in their bid to retain Championship status.
Whilst their exploits on Saturday may have taken a lot out of them, Newcastle endured a physical battle at the Pirelli stadium when the sides met earlier in the season, meaning Rafa’s men cannot afford to take the Brewers lightly. They are a team filled with energy and commitment and won’t hesitate to defy the odds once again should Newcastle afford them the opportunity tonight.