Burton in free fall

Burton made a poor start to the season (two points from five games) and were in the relegation places at the end of August.

By late October, after a seven game unbeaten run which included consecutive wins against Wigan, Cambridge, Lincoln and Bristol Rovers, they had risen to a respectable ninth place. However, after that it was all downhill and with one draw and five defeats, manager Dino Maamria paid the price. He had performed a miracle in keeping them up last season after the sacking of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink but when they dropped to 18th after a home defeat by Stevenage on December 9th, Chairman Ben Robinson announced Maamria's dismissal.

His temporary replacement is Gary Mills but not the Gary Mills who played for Nottingham Forest and Leicester. Burton's caretaker Mills was a journeyman, non-league footballer who was appointed first team coach in September. Previously he managed Corby Town and Rugby Town and held coaching positions at Coventry and Milton Keynes. His first game in charge was a 3-0 defeat away at Oxford last weekend.

We have a good record against The Brewers. Of course we beat them 7-0 in the FA Cup in 1956 but the rest of our encounters have been in recent years. They were bottom of the table in February 2021 when they won 2-1 at The Valley, thanks to a Ben Watson own goal.  The following year, Conor Washington and Corey Blackett-Taylor scored in a 2-0 win and last season Jes Rak-Sakyi scored two and made one for Macauley Bonne as we eased through 3-2.

It will be interesting to see Kwadwo Baah. Charlton fans may recall how he seemed almost unplayable as an eighteen year old when Rochdale forced a 4-4 draw at The Valley, nearly two years ago. There was talk of him joining Manchester City but he went to Watford instead and is now at Burton on a season-long loan. Also it will be interesting to see Deji Oshilaja who has been deployed in midfield in recent games.

Burton's current form is the worst in League One and anything short of a win for Charlton on Saturday would be a major disappointment. The performance at Barnsley was a great improvement on those against Cambridge and Gillingham and it seems that Michael Appleton might have settled on his favoured line-up at last. Having said that, Slobodan Tedic's contribution has been limited and it seems more likely that Daniel Kanu will make the starting eleven on Saturday.

We just hope the referee can tell which side of the line the ball is this week.