Winger enjoys being back on the scoresheetAn early goal for the Brewers against Oxford United ensured that there was to be no repeat of the goalless stalemate against Wimbledon but it was only when Lucas Akins fired home the second goal, a minute from the end of normal time, that the Brewers could relax a little safe in the knowledge that another Sky Bet League 2 victory was in the bag.
The winger bagged his fifth goal of the season, his first since October after latching onto substitute Nasser El Khayati's pass and finding the back of the net with a left foot strike to seal three points and the summer recruit from Stevenage was glad that this time Albion's work on the training ground and their preparations had been rewarded with the win.
"It was a much different game to the one we had on Tuesday against Wimbledon." said Lucas, "It was nice that our game plan that we had worked on paid off and it was nice to get another win under the gaffer."
After being a mainstay of the side in the early part of the season and scoring four times, the last of which was in the 3-1 home defeat to Cambridge United at the start of October, an injury picked up in Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's first game as manager stalled his season and kept him out for two and a half months. After returning to the team last month that long wait for another goal ended against Oxford. So was he pleased to put that spell behind him and get back on the scoresheet?
"Definitely." said Lucas, "I have had a bit of an indifferent spell in terms of injuries and things like that so it is great to be back but the main thing is that it doesnt matter if we win 1-0 and I havent scored as long as we are pulling together because we are going to need everyone from now until the end of the season to keep firing. We have had many different scorers this season which is brilliant for the team and also that this run can continue and that we can keep building and plugging away. I am just glad that I have contributed to a successful result for the boys."
While Albion have been scoring more goals this season the bedrock of their success has once again been a well organised and miserly defence. Albion have only conceded one goal in seven home games since Hasselbaink took over despite several defensive combinations having played and the Oxford game was no exception with the experience of Shane Cansdell-Sherriff brought back into the side and helping the team to another clean sheet. An example of the strength that Burton have in their squad this season.
"The gaffer works very had on that side of things as a team. Shane has come in today after an injury spell and he has been fantastic. That is no detriment to Tafty, who has been superb as well, and he has managed to keep a clean sheet so from that perspective it is very pleasing that people can come in like that and the results keep going in a positive direction."
There is competition for places not only in defence but in the attacking areas where Hasselbaink has brought in Derby's Ivan Calero on loan along with El Khayati who provided the assist for Lucas' goal and Akins knows that the pressure is on those in the team to stay there with their performances.
"It can only help us. Competition for places keeps everyone on their toes and as you saw out there today they have added to the team. Ivan has come in today and been unbelievable, which is pleasing for him and Adam McGurk has got another goal. He is firing which is brilliant."
With fifteen games to go supporters may be getting excited about where the season may be heading but Lucas knows that as players they need to stay level headed and concentrate on the next game to make sure the good work does not go to waste. A third of the season still has to be played and standards need to remain high, starting with Dagenham next Saturday.
"It is nice to be up there. I would be lying if I said that I hadnt lad a look at the table. Nothing is won in February though. We have still got a lot of games to play and a lot of points to play for. Its all good being where we are now but we havent won anything. We have got plenty of hard work ahead of us. This result is gone now and we have to focus on the next game ready to put in another performance."