League One Gameweek 18: Coventry to win Midlands clash4 min read
Burton Albion have enjoyed an positive run in the EFL Cup, which has seen them beat three sides in the division above – Aston Villa, Burnley and Nottingham Forest – to earn an unlikely place in the quarter-finals.
Games under the bright lights, on the big occasions, have certainly brought out the best in the Brewers, who have produced some energetic performances and shown quality too.
Nigel Clough’s side do, however, remain in the bottom half of League One, so while they deserve credit for the cup run, they still have much to prove in terms of their promotion credentials.
Coventry City, meanwhile, have found consistency.
If the season had begun when Conor Chaplin joined on loan from Portsmouth in early September, the Sky Blues would now be top of League One with seven wins from 11.
Three of the four games they have been unable to win came against fellow top six sides Sunderland, Portsmouth and most recently Accrington – the other was a 3-1 defeat at Bristol Rovers, where all the goals conceded came in a mad, 16-minute spell.
Why has Chaplin been the key?
In the first month of their campaign, they had been producing competitive performances but couldn’t quite perfect their final third play: just 3 of their first 87 shots found the net.
Chaplin though, has offered the quality of link-up play and subtlety of movement to compliment the power of Jonson Clarke-Harris, with whom he has forged an impressive partnership; 17 of the team’s 123 efforts have been successful since the signing was made.
With more tactical consistency over the last two months, we are starting to see young talents like midfield academy graduate Tom Bayliss and right-sided loanees Dujon Sterling and Luke Thomas develop at an exceptional rate.
At the other end of the age spectrum, Michael Doyle has earned slightly flattering comparisons with an Italian great…
The hosts, meanwhile, will be without key striker Liam Boyce and goalkeeper Dimitar Evtimov on Saturday; both are on international duty with Northern Ireland and Bulgaria respectively.
Forward Marvin Sordell will miss out through injury along with centre-back Ben Turner and left-back Reece Hutchinson, midfielder Ben Fox could still be sidelined with a hamstring strain while first teamers Kyle MacFadzean, John Brayford and Devante Cole will all be assessed.
With possibly as few as 13 senior outfield players fully fit, the Brewers will not be at full strength and Coventry should be backed to take advantage at 21/10.
Coventry to win at Burton – 21/10