When Accrington Stanley F.C. travels to play Burton Albion F.C. at Pirelli Stadium in Burton upon Trent, England this Friday, 4 September 2020, it will be Burton's first competitive match since 10 March 2020, and Accrington's first since 7 March 2020. This roughly 6 month break in action due to the COVID-19 pandemic has lasted nearly 3 times the length of a regular offseason, and resulted in the previous EFL League One season begin cancelled early, with table positions, promotions, and relegations decided by a points-per-game standard. This 1st Round match in the EFL Carabao Cup competition will also serve as a tune-up for both of these club's as they will return to League One play next weekend. Last season, Accrington finished 17th in the League One table with 40 points, and Burton finished 12th with 48 points, although both teams have had significant roster turnover since, based on those standards we would expect this to be a fairly even match.
The EFL Cup is a single elimination tournament, and if things are tied at the end of 90 minutes then it will go directly to penalties. This is something that could come into play when taking into consideration that Burton had 12 draws, and Accrington 10, in 35 matches apiece last season. Last season Burton made a nice run in this competition, going all the way to the Round of 16 before finally losing to Premier League side Leicester City. However, on their run they knocked off not only Port Vale and Morecambe, but also pulled one of the upsets of the tournament in knocking off then Premier League side AFC Bournemouth.
💻 Any #asfc supporters who want to watch tomorrow night’s game with @burtonalbionfc will have to do so via iFollow Stanley.— Accrington Stanley FC (@ASFCofficial) September 3, 2020
A Video Match Pass can be purchased for £10, with the club receiving 50% of the revenue!
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Accrington did not fair nearly as well, falling 3-1 to Sunderland in the 1st Round last season. In last year's League One play, Burton finished the year with 50 goals scored, and 50 goals allowed, while Accrington finished with 47 goals scored, and 53 goals allowed. This would put both clubs into the slightly above average on offense, and slightly below average on defense category in terms of rankings. In other words, don't expect this game to go be going into penalty kicks with things at nil-nil tomorrow.
Burton Albion vs Accrington Stanley Vital Information
This match can be viewed on Accrington Stanley iFollow in the United States, at 11:30 AM U.S. (Arizona Time)/7:30 PM GMT.
Referee appointments have Andy Haines as the referee, with assistants Ollie Williams and Gareth Viccars, and the fourth official Robert Atkin.
I am not aware of any suspensions for tomorrow's match outside of Accrington's Sam Finley serving the first of and 8 match ban, and could not find an official list available at this time.
This will be the 17th meeting all-time between Accrington Stanley F.C. and Burton Albion. In the previous 16 meetings, Burton has won 6, Accrington has won 6, and there has been 4 draws. The most recent result was a 1-1 draw on 25 January 2020 at Burton. The series between these club's dates back to 2009, and they have met at least once per year since, except for 2016 and 2017. Neither team has ever won more than 2 games in-a-row in this series.
Accrington Stanley New Signings Video
Five Points That Shouldn’t Be Overlooked
Before we talk about the additions for Accrington, and judging by the video above, there are some real players coming in, we have to talk about the subtractions. There were a number of players who left the club, but without a doubt, the biggest name in that group is Jordan Clark. With Clark's departure, only four regular starting players, Sean McConville, Mark Hughes, Seamus Conneely, and Callum Johnson remain from the 2017-2018 League Two championship winning club. Clark was having a career year last season, leading the club in minutes played, and scoring 6 goals, while adding 5 assists. While his skill, and it is sizable, will be sorely missed, it is perhaps his leadership that will be missed even more. McConville, Hughes, and Conneely are all veteran players over 30-years-old, but otherwise, experienced beyond their years guys like Johnson who is 23, and Ross Sykes, who is only 21 will need to take a further leadership role on a team that has gotten progressively younger over the past two years.
In addition to Clark, a few other noteworthy players have departed the club, including forward Offrande Zanzala, who had been with the club for 3 years, and Dimitar Evtimov, who was the starting goalkeeper at the beginning of last season before having his campaign derailed by injury. The man who replaced Evtimov in goal after the injury, Joe Bursik is gone as well, having returned to his parent club Stoke City, and now out on loan to Doncaster. Loanees Jerome Opoku and Aji Alese, who both played a significant role on the back line last season have both returned to their respective parent clubs. We wish all five of these players, all of whom appeared on our show last year, the best of luck with their current and future clubs.
Across The Pitch Interview With Jordan Clark
Taking a look at the opponent for the first time, if there is such a thing as a "Mr. Burton Albion", then that has to be Lucas Akins. The 31-year-old Akins is now entering his 7th season with the club, where he has 54 goals and 22 assists in 213 League starts. Accrington may get a break on Friday, as it has been reported that Akins has picked up a knock in a preseason friendly against Coventry, and may be unavailable for the match against Accrington. Akins has said that he will be ready to play, but manager Jake Buxton may decide that it's not worth risking him to further injury in this competition. Buxton is an interesting story in his own right, as he is a genuine "player-manager". He was named manager on 18 May 2020 after the resignation of Nigel Clough. At 35-years-old, and with the new responsibility of manager, it is safe to assume that Buxton is winding down his playing career, however, having started 20 matches, and played nearly 1800 minutes last season, it will be interesting to see how much playing he does this season. An incoming player to watch out for is Kane Hemmings, who is newly acquired by Burton after scoring 10 goals in Scotland for 2nd division Dundee last season. It has been reported that Hemmings was assigned the number 9 shirt for The Brewers this season, and while that doesn't necessarily always translate to him playing that role, it's usually a pretty safe guess. Hemmings is no stranger to England, having done stints with Oxford United and Barnsley in League One, and Mansfield Town and Notts County in League Two. Looking at his career numbers, he has scored 9 goals in 33 League One starts, which isn't bad, but pales in comparison to his 29 goals in 66 League Two starts. In other words, it remains to be seen if he has what it takes to be a dominant scoring threat at this tier, or not, but at 28-years-old, he should be in his absolute prime.
Accrington has several exciting young players, who are now entering their second year with the club. These include Joe Pritchard, Colby Bishop, and Dion Charles. Bishop lead the club with 10 goals last season in what was just his first season in League One, jumping all the way up from 6th tier Leamington. It was an impressive debut in League Football to say the least, especially considering that he was limited by nagging injuries to just 24 starts. It will be interesting to see what he can do this year as his body adjusts to the rigors of playing full time. Charles, another player who came up from Non-League, in his case Southport F.C., and did not show quite as much polish as Bishop, but was equally impressive, scoring 8 goals and adding 3 assists in 26 starts. Last season, especially after the McConville injury, we often would see a lineup that included Charles on the wing, but he looked more comfortable when playing the number 9 position. Pritchard, who came over from Tottenham academy, had 2 goals and 5 assists in 20 starts, and was impressive in filling in as the primary attacking midfielder after McConville went down with an achilles injury. If Accrington is going to stay up in League One this year, it is going to be critical that all three of these players take a step forward from last year. Pritchard could be especially key as McConville continues to work back from his injury.
Across The Pitch Interview With Colby Bishop
Finally, we have to take a look at some of these new players that have come to the club. The first to sign was Cameron Burgess back in early August, whom manager John Coleman called "my main target over the summer". Burgess is a 24-year-old center back, and gives Accrington depth at a position that became a problem point last year after Hughes went down with a leg injury. Coleman says that Hughes, who is now just 3 months shy of his 34th birthday is "fit enough to play this year", but alluded to Burgess being his heir apparent in commenting that "Mark can't go on forever". Next up was Ryan Cassidy, a striker who came over on season long loan from Watford. Cassidy looks like a prototypical number 9, who should fit in perfectly in Coleman's system. Coleman calls him "a really good prospect", and is a guy I expect will push Bishop for the starting striker's role. After Cassidy, was another loan signee, Tom Allen on a season long deal from Newcastle United. At just 20-years-old, he was already captain of the Newcastle under-23's last season. He scored 17 goals last season while playing both wing and forward. A natural winger, Allen seems to be the player Coleman had his eye one as an attacking midfield replacement for Clark.
("Tom is someone we have known about for a while. Losing Jordan and with Sean being out for a little bit..."), but also sees it as a bonus that he has experience playing up front. “The fact he can play wide or up front is a bonus. Tom is very quick and energetic and will excite the fans and the type of football we want to play this season is going to be very high energy, high octane, and he ticks all the boxes." Midfielder Matt Butcher comes over from Bournemouth on a permanent deal, and describes himself as "box-to-box" midfielder. Conneely is a staple with Accrington, and at 32-years-old, still has some gas left in the tank, but Butcher will be a nice player to fill in when either captain Conneely, or the versatile Sam Finley need a night off. Another loanee from Newcastle United, is 21-year-old midfielder, Mo Sangare. This is a return of sorts for Sangare, who spent time with Stanley's development program as a teenager says “On the field, I would describe myself as aggressive and powerful, I like to get forward but I also help out defensively depending on the situation." The final signing of the offseason for Stanley was midfielder Tom Scully, who comes over from Norwich, and appears to be another attack minded player that will fill in the gaps left by Clark's departure, and McConville's injury. Scully is signed to Accrington for 2 years.
The final section is my analysis of the betting line, and a prediction for what I think is going to happen in the game based on what the line is telling me. In this section I am strictly looking at what the odds themselves might tell me about the outcome of the game. The theory behind this is that to beat the house you have to be the house, or in other words, figure out what the casino is trying to get you not to bet on. In this particularly tournament things don't get really fun until the Premier League teams come in, in the later rounds, and you can get tasty odds on for example "Burton over Bournemouth". However, I am seeing something here that I think is a great bet. At home, having finished higher in the table than Accrington last year, and having a bit more of an experienced and stable roster, I would expect Burton to be favored, which they are. However, at 6/5, it is still paying more than even money, and any time the clear cut favorite is paying more than even money, that tells me the casino doesn't mind if I am betting on them. At 21/10, Accrington is paying out at just over 2 to 1 on your money, which tells me the casino doesn't mind if you put your money here either. What this means of course is that the casino is guarding against the draw. Anytime that you can bet on both sides to win and make money either way, that is a dead giveaway. Another more succinct giveaway is that as I have said anytime the draw line goes to more than 3 to 1 that means the casino thinks it's out of play, and want you to throw your money at it. Any time it goes below 2.5 to 1 then that means they are really tying to steer you away, and at 23/10, we are at 2.3 to 1. Keeping in mind that only 90 minutes count as action and PK's don't figure into the bet, I think the draw bet is a great value in this match as the type of bet to throw 100 quid at.
Burton Albion vs Accrington Stanley Prediction
The most objective part of any article that I do is the gambling analysis, because it's at the point that I take any personal intuition out of it, and look strictly at a set of numbers. Sometimes it matches up with what I am thinking, other times it tells me something wildly different. As I was writing this, I was kind of thinking draw and PK's, and then when I got to the numbers it seems to reflect that the pros who make a living off of getting the odds right agree. Especially looking at two clubs who finished 8 points apart in the same tier last season, drew in roughly 30% of their combined matches last season, and might decide to just play for PK's if it is level late, there are a lot of reason to think we could end up just that way. Throw in that these two teams drew the last time they met at Burton, and that is just another log on the fire. The biggest concern that I have from an Accrington standpoint is that Burton has a history of being successful in this competition, and Accy does not. That being said, with The Brewers under the helm of a first time, player/manager, I think you can throw a bit of that history out the window for now. Once it gets to the PK's, anything can happen.