Albion are told to keep momentum going in FA Cup opener
NIGEL Clough wants his Burton Albion players to build on the performances of recent games to kickstart their FA Cup campaign away to Scunthorpe United today (3pm).
The Brewers turned in two of their best displays of the campaign last week to knock Nottingham Forest out of the Carabao Cup and then cruise past Walsall in League One.
The high tempo and slick passing on show was symbolic of the confidence currently flowing through the Albion squad - although Clough is intent on ensuring that does not go too far.
And having seen his side dogged by inconsistency so far this season and unable to string together a long unbeaten run, the Burton manager is urging his players to keep the standards high at Glanford Park.
“I think you just have to keep that momentum going, whatever the competition,” he said.
“We wanted to do it against Middlesbrough in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday and it didn’t work out but, hopefully, when the senior players come back into the side at Scunthorpe, they’ll continue where they left off against Forest and Walsall, which have been two of our best performances of the season so far.
“Where we are confident at the moment, we don’t want it to turn into complacency or over-confidence. We’ll be reminding the players exactly how hard they’ve had to work and what they’re doing well to, hopefully, put in another good performance.”
Albion are already on one memorable cup run for the season, having reached the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup for the first time.
That run has had an impact on the Brewers’ form in the League, with three wins and one draw from their four games immediately after cup matches.
For Clough, it is as simple as wanting his side to keep winning games, regardless of the competition.
“Getting to the last eight of the Carabao Cup has been an outstanding run,” he added.
“But the FA Cup, when the big boys come in the third round, that is one of the most exciting times of the season for supporters, when their team is in that draw.
“We’ve got to get through a couple of rounds first. “Also, you just want to not lose football matches, like we did against Middlesbrough’s under-21s.
“Even when there’s nothing at stake, you don’t want to lose matches. “That’s the sort of thing you’re trying to instil in the players. Whether it’s a reserve game, whether it’s an eight-a-side in training, don’t lose and don’t make it easy.
“You want to win every single time you go on the pitch and that’ll be the same at Scunthorpe.”
There can be no doubt about Clough’s desire to see his side progress into the FA Cup second round, in spite of their congested fixture list over the coming weeks.
“We’ll take a replay now,” he said. “People say you don’t want replays but we’d take a replay now and get them back here to the Pirelli.
“We want to stay in the competition. That’s the first thing - be in the hat, when the draw is made, that’s the first priority, nothing else.”
People say you don’t want replays but we’d take a replay now and get them back here to the Pirelli