PREVIEW: Burton Albion v Luton Town
Burton Albion’s home supporters will get their first view of new manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink when they entertain Luton Town this weekend.
The former Chelsea, Middlesbrough, Charlton Athletic and Cardiff City striker had stepped down from his role as manager of Belgian second division side Royal Antwerp in May as he wanted to return to England.
After Brewers boss Gary Rowett departed for Birmingham City, Hasselbaink was offered the job earlier this month and admitted it was one he couldn’t turn down.
Speaking to the media after his appointment, he said: “I applied for a few jobs, but when Burton Albion became available I jumped at it.
“Money is not the motivation. The motivation was the club, the set-up, the beliefs, the players, the atmosphere at the stadium - and the places where Burton want to go.
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“I am not afraid to come to League Two; it is not about League Two, League One or the Championship. It is about the project.
“It is a great opportunity and project with great values that fit with me.”
Hasselbaink brought former Luton midfielder David Oldfield as his number two after he was released from his role as head of Milton Keynes Dons’ academy.
Albion chairman Ben Robinson said: “Jimmy and David have great records as professional footballers and have already gained some knowledge of football management.
“They are inspirational individuals, great coaches and this is a marvellous opportunity for them to take important steps on the managerial ladder.”
Hasselbaink couldn’t have asked for a better start to life at the Pirelli Stadium as he led Burton to a 3-1 win at fellow promotion chasers Wycombe Wanderers on Monday night, a result that lifted them to fourth in the table.
Albion had started the season on fire with four straight league and cup wins, while after drawing with Newport, went on to triumph in their next four matches, including knocking Premier League QPR out of the Capital One Cup.
However, Burton then suffered something of a blip, winning just three of their next 12 matches, with eight defeats seeing slide out of the top three spots.
Burton’s home record of late hasn’t been overly impressive either, without a win in their last four outings, drawing one and losing three.
Hasselbaink is naturally hoping his side produce a similar performance against Luton to the one that garnered all three points at the Chairboys as he told the club’s official website: “We’ll need the same high standard. Luton have done really well of late.
“They play good football and have some very good players who make a difference. They are well organised and they’re a team rather than individuals. They work hard but they also have good quality.
“Everybody wants to play those games, but there’s only three points at stake, just like any other games. It’s no different to any other game.
“They’re top of the league so there’s an extra feeling, but we need to keep our feet on the ground and perform in a normal way.
“I would like to see a good atmosphere from the fans and see them push the team to go for a win.”
Hasselbaink has already used his connections with Middlesbrough to good effect, signing versatile teenager Bryn Morris, an England U19 international on a month’s loan.
The Brewers boss was also brought in Yeovil keeper Chris Weale for a month after Dean Lyness broke his leg on his first morning in charge.
Team news: Hatters will be once again be without Ross Lafayette and Alex Lawless, while Paul Connolly isn’t expected to feature.
For Albion, keeper Dean Lyness is out for a few months, while there are doubts over both Lucas Akins and Ian Sharps, who have foot injuries.
Top scorers: Hatters: Mark Cullen (8). Albion: Alex MacDonald (5).
Milestones: Hatters goalkeeper Mark Tyler is in line for his 250th appearance in a Luton shirt at Burton.
The 37-year-old signed from Peterborough in July 2009, making his debut in the 1-1 draw against AFC Wimbledon.
Man in the middle: James Adcock - Reffed 18 games so far this season, showing 67 yellows and five reds, with four dismissals coming in his last six matches, including two in the 3-3 draw between Wigan and Fulham.
Last year he took 31 matches, dishing out 102 yellows and six reds.
Hasn’t officiated Luton since the Conference play-off final at Manchester City where Hatters lost out 4-3 on penalties to AFC Wimbledon.
His only other Town match was a 2-1 win for Luton over Gateshead during the 2009-10 campaign.
Assistant referees for the game are David Benton and Darren Strain with the fourth official Robert Massey-Ellis.
In charge: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink - 42-year-old who had a marvellous playing career at the likes of Leeds, Chelsea, Middlesbrough and Athletico Madrid.
Also played in Holland and Portugal too as he was sold for transfer fees totalling around the £30million mark.
Won 23 caps for Holland too, scoring nine times, before retiring in August 2008 and was on the coaching staff at Chelsea, before from July 2011, was part of the backroom team at Nottingham Forest.
Left in January 2013 and was appointed boss of Royal Antwerp in the Belgian Second Division in May, where he stayed for one season, leading the club to seventh place, before appointed on November 13 as the new Burton boss.
View from the opposition: Defender Shane Cansdell-Sheriff told the club’s official website: “These are the games you want to be involved in as a player, they’ve done really well, they’ve been slow for a while and been in the background and crept past everyone.
“They’re going to bring up a big crowd and it’s will be a great atmosphere.
“We know we can do it, we are a good side, we know we bounced back on Monday night and we’ve just got to put it to them.
“I think there will be a really good buzz about the place. I’m really looking forward to it and I am sure the manager will be looking for his first home victory.”
One to watch: Forward Jacob Blyth has discovered some real goalscoring form in the last month, netting three in five games, including one at Wycombe in the 3-1 win on Monday.
The 22-year-old is on loan from Leicester City and has already spent time at Burton earlier in his career, plus Notts County and Northampton.
Friendly faces: Winger Luke Rooney spent a month on loan at Burton in the 2012-13 campaign while at Swindon, making three starts for the club.
New Brewers assistant boss David Oldfield began his career at Luton in 1986 before a £600,000 move to Manchester City.
He returned to Luton for £150,000 in 1995 and stayed another three seasons until leaving on a free for Stoke after playing 178 times in total, scoring 32 goals.
We’ve got form: Hatters are making their first ever trip to the Pirelli Stadium as the two clubs have never played a competitive fixture before.