Town welcome Burton to the Montgomery Waters Stadium for our f
It's difficult not to feel respect for what Burton Albion have done since being promoted ahead of us a few seasons ago. Before they started their first season in League One I thought they'd struggle, when they performed so well that season I thought it wouldn't last and when they won promotion to the Championship I thought they'd be back in League One the next season. This sort of thinking could mark me out as an idiot but I prefer to think that Burton have defied the conventional wisdom and expectation.
Burton are the fourth Championship team we will have played this pre-season and so far we've dome well in terms of results and performances, winning all three. However, with the season very close to starting, they should be closer to peak fitness and should give us a game.
The Brewers have quietly gone about their business this closed season, picking up some handy players for next season. Most recently they've signed Nigerian International midfielder Hope Akpan from Blackburn. Originally an Everton trainee, Akpan had to move one step backwards at Crawley Town, to take two forward by moving to Reading and later Blackburn. On moving to Burton Hope describes himself as an energetic midfielder able to win the ball.
In June Burton broke their transfer record to sign Liam Boyce from Ross County. The exact fee wasn't released but it broke the £300,000 record, which was paid last season, also to Ross County for Jackson Irvine 12 months ago. Irvine certainly impressed last season so you can’t blame Burton for going back for another midfielder. Boyce started his career in his native Ireland with Cliftonville, had a brief flirtation with Werder Bremen (3 games) before moving back to Cliftonville in 2012. In both his spells with the Belfast club he was prolific in front of goal. His first spell there saw him score18 times in 52 games, his second spell he scored an incredible 51 in 85 games. In 2014 he moved to Ross County and scorerd at a similar rate winning him the Scottish Premier League Golden boot for last season with 23 goals.
I think this should be our toughest test at home before the season starts, mainly because our opposition is closer to match fitness. Having said that, so are we and we've been pretty good at home so far. I'd quite like to see us record another clean sheet before the start of the season so a 0-0 would be fine, a one or two nil win would be lovely. However, each time I have forecast a draw this pre-season so I'll keep doing that until the sequence is broken.
Shrewsbury Town 2-2 Burton Albion