Burton Albion mid-season review

burtonThe Football Lab interviewed Burton Albion supporter Adam Drew. You can follow him on Twitter @adamBAFCdrew

Gary Rowett left for Birmingham City in October, and was replaced by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. How has the change of manager affected the players?

The uncertainty surrounding Gary Rowett and his future seemed to affect the players more than the changes I think. Since the day he rejected the Blackpool job, there was uncertainty in the air as he had travelled there for talks. And it reflected on results.

The appointment of JFH has been a big boost for everyone at the club. And the team seem to really be enjoying their football under him. He is a guy who believes in attractive football, and also a guy who ain’t afraid to change things.

Goalkeeper Dean Lyness made a costly error in the play-off final against Fleetwood back in May, and seems to have lost his place in the team this season. Is Jon McLaughlin any improvement?

He has blown hot and cold. He sometimes looks a bit suspect when coming for crosses. And has made a few mistakes himself. He is clearly an experienced keeper though, and has grown in confidence over the season.

Phil Edwards and George Taft seem quite defensive minded full-backs. Do you feel you have lacked extra width at times?

I’m not sure about Phil being defensive minded, he does overlap and whips a mean cross in. And he doesn’t leave us exposed. Taft on the other hand is seen by many as a centre back playing out of position when on the left. And I think we have been better on the left since McCrory won his place back after his lengthy layoff.

Academy graduate Matt Palmer looks to be a very energetic player, and has had a long run in the team despite plenty of midfield competition. Are you proud of his development with the club?

Yeah it is always nice to see young players progress to the first team. And any other young budding players can look at Matty’s progress as inspiration. We also have Marcus Harness, Liam Slade and Joe Doyle on professional contracts, although they have been bit part players. So it shows what a good job Mike Whitlow has done with the academy.

Adam McGurk has come under criticism from supporters this season. Is this justifiable?

He has been frustrating this season. Everyone knows he has quality and magic in his locker. The problem is it’s rare he unleashes it. It is a shame though, and the fact he is now struggling to get in the team must suggest JFH hasn’t been impressed so far by him.

Given that you are now struggling for a consistent goalscorer, was the club right to sell striker Billy Kee in the summer?

The amount of football he is getting at Scunny tells me it was probably right. Think it’s only 1 start he has made this season. There are plenty of what ifs, but I agree with what Rowett said at the fans forum about Billy Kee possibly having gone a bit stale and not suiting this season’s style of play. A good chunk of the goals have been chipped in by midfield players, which is something we needed. But I’m sure JFH has something in mind in January.

You targeted a top 7 finish in the summer. Is automatic promotion the aim now?

Yeah, with us being in a strong position at this stage, a push for the automatics is realistic. My top 7 prediction was based on the fact it is a tough league. But it’s always great to see my little club with a Conference sized fanbase fighting at the top end again.