DINO Maamria says he and his players are as fired up as anyone for this weekend’s derby match against Derby County.
The manager is fully aware of the importance of bragging rights and how the atmosphere around a packed-out Pirelli Stadium will provide all the motivation needed for a local derby.
The Brewers have been overshadowed by neighbours Derby County in the past, who have always been a division or a few higher than Albion, so Maamria know what the game means to Burton fans.
“It’s not a normal game. I don’t think it’s going to be a tactical masterclass as such. It will be a game full of energy and heart, and desire.
“It’s going to be a terrific game. It’s going to be as exciting as it is electric. It’s a derby game. Burton Albion in the past have always been in the shadow of Derby County, until the last few years. Nowadays I’d say it’s more a level playing field. It’s an occasion we’re going to relish.”
As is the case at a majority of professional football clubs, a lot of the Brewers players come from outside of the Staffordshire and Derbyshire region. However, with most of the first team now living locally, Maamria has made sure that the players are fully aware of the circumstances surrounding this fixture.
“We have two key figures with experience in this fixture. Chris Beardsley and John Brayford were here when we beat them twice and I felt it was important to share those experiences of how the Pirelli stadium is on a day like this. It’s important to visualise how the game will look like and we can use their experiences of how we won those games.
“This game is for experienced players. They have to manage the younger players, mentally and tactically, on the pitch. It’s a game where we have to rise from pressure, but we have to capitalise on the pressure we put on as well.”
One of those experienced that Maamria will be hoping to count on is Adrian Mariappa, who has returned to full training alongside centre-back partner Sam Hughes, who has appeared to recover from his own injury way ahead of schedule.
A more serious knee injury has hit Academy graduate Jakub Niemczyk, a young winger with great potential. Having previously picked up two separate and unrelated injuries the player is back in treatment with a new knee injury but has the full backing of his manager, who expects the young talent to bounce back again.
The Brewers will also be without Joe Powell (calf) and potentially Elliot Thorpe (illness), with Mustapha Carayol and Sam Winnall remaining doubtful.