So far this season, Burton Albion have had many different partnerships at the back in all competitions.For the first time, Anthony O’Connor and Tom Flanagan linked up in the middle in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy against Doncaster Rovers earlier in the season.
The main partnership has been between John Mousinho and 33-year-old Shane Cansdell-Sherriff with many fans expecting Anthony O’Connor to be the first choice centre back.
O’Connor who joined on a contract in the Summer from Plymouth Argyle did have a good run of games in the squad but with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink keeping his squad fresh, he gave Cansdell-Sherriff his starting place back.
The Skipper John Mousinho has been a rock at the back ever since Hasselbaink arrived at the Pirelli Stadium nearly a year ago, converting him to a defender from his more familiar role as a central midfielder.
“One of the things we did during pre-season was work on different partnerships.” Said Mousinho.
“With all of the new lads coming in, it was important that we all gelled so quickly and get those partnerships all over the pitch.
“We have managed to do it all really well and integrate pretty seamlessly.
“Anthony (O’Connor) took his chance the other week against Chesterfield and he did brilliantly.”
The Brewers have only conceded 13 goals in 16 games in Sky Bet League One so far this season with six of those coming in one week against Walsall and Fleetwood which just shows how good the Albion defence was been before those games.
“Two of the three games he (O’Connor) has played have been clean sheets and that started during pre-season.
“The staff took it upon themselves to make sure we all mixed and got familiar with each other.”
The defensive duo of Flanagan and O’Connor was very solid in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy but that was to be the only time they have partnered in Albion shirts.
Mousinho has linked up with every defender in the Brewers ranks and admits that whatever the partnership, it has still worked brilliantly but says they can still tighten up at the back.
“Whenever we have had to make a change, be it a cup game or a league game, it has always worked pretty well.
“There is still a massive amount we can all learn from each other.
“We can all tighten up at the back and improve going forward as well.”