Derek Wainwright gave his opposition view ahead of Plymouth Argyle verses Burton Albion.
Thanks very much for talking to us! What got you into supporting Burton?
I am a Burtonian and have always followed The Brewers. Like some of our fan base, I also followed “bigger clubs” too when we were non League. For me, it was the Clough link first at Derby with the Rams. My Dad tore up the season tickets when they sacked Brian, and being a kid at the time it meant I couldn’t go anymore. When Brian came back to the East Midlands, we then went to Forest as season ticket holders and the rest as they say is history. Then Nigel came to Burton and Brian would watch too, and I have pretty much only been at Burton since. I still keep an eye on both The Rams & Reds and would love to see both in the Premiership.
What were your thoughts of the return of Nigel Clough to the club following the rise through the leagues under the previous two managers?
When QPR came for Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink then my first thought was phone call for Nigel please. Obviously I am biased but in my opinion the best man for the job particularly with our small budget. Other fans wanted other potential Managers, and didn’t want “Negative Nigel” as they inaccurately labelled him. People pay their money and are entitled to their opinion, but some fans can be so fickle. I’m sure this is the same at all clubs.
And how do you think he’s done since returning to the club?
People with far greater football knowledge than I said he should have been named Manager of the Year for keeping The Brewers in The Championship in our first season, and I agree with them. We nearly managed it again last year but for a couple of late Bolton goals. This season we started off poorly as mainly we lost so many players pre season to other higher paying clubs. We had to cut our cloth accordingly coming back into League 1 and we also had to rely on loan players again. Twenty minutes into the new season the negative fans wanted “ Clough out” when we went 0-2 down to Rochdale. We suffered more defeats in August, but were also able to bring in some quality signings by the deadline. September saw a turn around with better results, including a 2-1 win over Sunderland. We have also been playing good and entertaining football too, but failing to convert chances has cost us dearly in games against Accrington, Southend and Scunthorpe among others. A win against Burnley in the Carabao League Cup was in the middle of these, and ironically we now play Forest next week. A 1-0 win in the last minute at home against Bristol Rovers improved morale in some areas of the home support, and our position
How do you think Burton manage to so consistently outperform their expected level? Is it external investment or simply a very well ran club?
I believe we consistently punch above our weight due to great management off and on the pitch. Making good choices of Manager have been crucial, and our last 3 in particular of Rowett, JFH, & Clough again have all been inspired decisions. Having made the decision, our Managers then get on with the football while our Chairman Ben Robinson gets on with prudent financial management. No fear of us being a boom & bust club.
Do you foresee the brewers returning to the championship any time soon?
I do see us returning to the Championship, and I have a 100/1 each way with the bookies riding on this season. We have dropped at least 10 points when dominating games and look where that would have put us. We would have been right in the mix at the top end. More clinical finishing would have seriously reduced those odds. Don’t write us off yet, far to early.
What are your thoughts on a somewhat underwhelming season so far?
My thoughts on the season so far are that it we were a club in transition in August. My personal jury was out until deadline day, and since then performances if not all results have picked up considerably. Our style of play has been attacking and entertaining when at all possible. We have also brought in youth with Academy players such as Fox and Sbarra coming through and performing very well. We have a small squad, and we need to avoid injuries of course in order to maintain progress.
Who are the bright sparks this season and who are the weaker performers?
The bright sparks of the team have been Boyce with his goals, Templeton with his wing play, Fraser & Quinn in midfield, with centre halves McFadzean & Turner keeping defence. McCrory, Brayford & Sordell have had injuries and are not yet quite at top of their games, and we are also on our 3rd Keeper due to injury. Our latest Evtimov is an emergency loan player.
How confident do you feel ahead of the game at Argyle tomorrow?
I feel confident of a good performance if not a good result. We have been a bit like Arsenal of past seasons, passing it around nicely and trying to score the perfect goal. We need to be more clinical and not be vulnerable to the sucker punch of losing or drawing games. Argyle Are bottom, but this early in the season it is no real indicator of what can happen in the match. I have seen most games this season home & away and yet to see a stand out team. Anyone who puts together a good run of results into the New Year will be knocking on promotion or plays offs door including us & Argyle. It’s a marathon not a sprint.
What are your realistic aims for Burton for the rest of this season?
The realistic aims for the Brewers this season are top 6 in the league, and also a chance of the next round in the League Cup. Another aim is to keep hold of Liam Boyce as I think he is on a number of clubs radar with his goal scoring this season. The intelligent Irish International has recovered from last pre seasons bad knee injury to bang in the goals end of last and this season. If only we would have had him in this form and fitness a year ago. I expect a League 1 club or Championship club with a big budget to come knocking once the Christmas Tree comes down, and a 3 or 4 million pound offer will be hard to turn down.
Finally, a score prediction for the game?
My score prediction is a bit of a politicians answer. If we play as well as we have done and convert our chances, then I do think a big win is possible. This isn’t due to Argyles position, it’s due to me thinking we get it right one day and someone is going to be on the wrong end of it. However, never kick a dog when it’s down and if we don’t convert our chances then the sucker punch will come back to haunt us yet again.