BURTON Albion’s first team players are back in pre-season training and have taken part in three behind closed doors friendlies against Mansfield Town, Nottingham Forest U23s and Leicester City U23s.
New Albion boss Jake Buxton picked up his first victory against his former club Mansfield Town, recording a 2-1 win over The Stags. New signing Kane Hemmings got his first goal for the club from the penalty spot, with the ever-reliable Lucas Akins also adding to the scoresheet.
The second game saw the Brewers draw 1-1 against a well-drilled Forest side. Following a year out of action with a knee injury, Ben Fox was the man on target - scoring the Brewers’ only goal with a well-struck volley from inside the penalty area.
The final game saw Buxton’s men come up against another good U23s opponent, this time facing Leicester. Hemmings got his second goal of pre-season with a well-taken finish, but despite having the majority of play, two brilliant solo efforts late on won the game for The Foxes.
All three games were played behind closed doors at the Brewers’ St George’s Park training base.
Buxton was happy with how his players have conducted themselves so far in pre-season and is pleased with how his side have taken the information given to them on-board and displayed it out on the pitch.
He said: “We’ve come up against some good opposition, playing a League Two side and two very good under-23s sides. I’m really happy with how the lads have done.
“We’ve been very good with the ball and for large periods of all the games we’ve dictated the play.
“We’ve created good opportunities and good chances, and I thought that we looked nice and solid.
“I’m over the moon with the effort and commitment with the boys. From the start to the finish of every game, everyone’s given me everything that I’ve asked for.
“Tactically we continue to look better, the way that we build and play, as well as understanding when we can press and get after teams.
“We’ve continued to play better football during each game that we’ve played, which is important. The technical information that we give the players is being taken on board, which is great.”
Four trialists have featured so far for the Brewers during pre-season, with Owen Gallacher set to remain with the club throughout the rest of pre-season. The former Nottingham Forest and Newcastle man, who operates at down the left flank, will continue to train with Buxton’s side and will feature throughout several friendlies that are lined up.
Regarding Ben Fox’s return to action, Buxton was delighted for him to get a goal during the game against Forest.
“Foxy’s (Ben Fox) reported back in unbelievable condition after dealing with his ACL injury and then after having four months of lockdown,” Buxton said.
“He’s gradually building up his fitness and is looking sharp. It was nice for him to score a goal.”
Ryan Edwards and Steven Lawless are both currently sidelined through injury.
Buxton said: “Ryan suffered a knee injury after being on the receiving end of a tackle in the game against Mansfield. We’re taking it week by week on this one and hopefully he will have a speedy recovery.
“In terms of Steven (Lawless), he’s worked tirelessly hard and has looked good since he’s come in.
“He felt a little twinge in his hamstring prior to the Mansfield game, so we’ve given him a couple of weeks of rest as precaution and he’ll re-join the group later this week.”
Buxton’s team have four more pre-season friendly games lined up prior to the start of the return of competitive football (weekend of 5/6 September), when the Brewers host Accrington Stanley in the Carabao Cup First Round. The pre-season fixtures are as follows:
Stoke City – Saturday 22 August – 3pm – bet365 Stadium
Coventry City – Tuesday 25 August – 7pm – Pirelli Stadium
Walsall – Saturday 29 August – 3pm – Banks’s Stadium
Rotherham United – Tuesday 1 September – AESSEAL New York Stadium
Please note that in line with government guidelines, these games are to be played behind closed doors, with fans not permitted any entry into football stadiums. We ask all fans to respect these guidelines and to stay away from the venues.