Can Burton Albion take last seasons fortunes into next as they prepare for the start of a new campaign?
Image Via Getty Images by Tony Marshall

After Jimmy Floyd-Haselbaink completely changed the complexion of Burton Albion's season when he returned to the club in the new year, fans will be eager to see what unfolds this time around.

It's fair to say the Dutchman turned what was looking to be a bitterly disappointing season, into quite a good one. 

The results that the Staffordshire side produced under the former Chelsea man will have gone a long way for the confidence of the players whilst preparing this summer for the upcoming campaign.

If they're anything like they were in the run in last term, then Albion fans could be in for a treat this season - where realistically the goal should be eyeing a Championship return for the first time since 2018.

  • Transfer business

As expected, Haselbaink has been very busy in the transfer window so far - much like back in January where they brought in multiple reinforcements. Their business in the winter window played a huge part in their survival with top talent coming in and shuffling the pack. 

They may have lost an influential character in the dressing room Ryan Edwards to South Korean side Busan IPark, however Burton have always been good at replacing players. The Australian won the player of the season award at the end of the campaign - something that was fully deserved after the service he provided in their revival.

They've made ten signings up to this point, with under two weeks left until the new season starts.

One signing that stands out is former Manchester United man Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, who joined from Oldham Athletic. The left back stands at 6'2 and can certainly shift down that left hand side. Still only 24, he is a smart addition to the squad and will likely provide a strong back up or even challenge for a place in the starting 11. 

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Another player that Ablion have picked up is 22-year-old Jacob Maddox who has joined the Brewers on loan for the season from Portugese side Vitória de Guimarães. He hasn’t played much football in the last couple of years, but a graduate from Chelsea's acadamy has likely got some tricks up his sleeve, so could turn out to be a good addition to the side.

Finally, another signing that has turned the heads of Burton fans is the experienced centre half Adedeji Oshilaja, who signed for the Brewers after his contract with Charlton Athletic came to an end. The 28-year-old has played consistently in and around the EFL over the last few seasons. Whether he will start or not is the question, as Micheal Bostwick has become slightly injury prone so they could end up as a rotating pair, if Bostwick can stay fit - as when he is 100% he is one of the best centre halves in the league. His power and aggression is like no other. Oshilaja is a sensible signing by Haselbaink as it is a position where depth is key.

As the Brewers haven't managed to make Hayden Carter a permanent signing following his half a season cameo when he was signed in January on loan, Oshilaja may be able to have the same impact.

There's still time for more incomings, although even if there were no more, it’s been a successful window to say the least. 

  • Pre-season so far

Whilst Albion have been busy recruiting talent, they've also had work on the pitch too. Four pre-season games down, two to go. Haselbaink's side have beaten Nuneaton Town and Bognor Regis Town, before falling short to Scunthorpe United last week. However, most recently, they added silverware to their cabinet! Defeating FA Cup winners Leicester City in a penalty shootout to win the Bass Charity Vase.

Not only was it a special day for charity reasons, but it was also the first time that the Pirelli Stadium has welcomed fans through turnstiles for 501 days. After an entertaining goalless draw, the League One outfit overturned the Foxes 3-1 on penalties. Burton impressed and matched the former Premier League champions over the 90, and could have even won it in normal time.

They face Alfreton Town and Newcastle United in the coming days, and it will be another tough challenge to welcome another top flight side to little old Burton-on-Trent.

  • Player to look out for

Tom Hamer 

Tom Hamer signed for the Brewers back in January, and the rest is history. The 21-year-old has consistently performed at a top level for the club since joining. Flying up and down the wings from full back, whilst always being able to fill in at centre half and midfield, he takes the meaning of versatile to a new level. Also, with his trademark giant throw-ins, its like Burton get a corner every time they get a throw in the final third. Last season they caused so much trouble with the looping delivery from Hamer.

The ex-Oldham player was awarded man of the match in their recent bout with Leicester, it was a top performance from the youngster - even in a friendly. 

  • What’s next?

With the pre-season matches set to come to an end soon, the Brewers start their competitive campaign off with an away trip to Shrewsbury Town, ahead of a busy few weeks where they have three home games in row. After their opener, Oxford United visit The Pirelli in the first round of the EFL Cup. It's a hectic few weeks for Haselbainks side, with seven ties to play following matchday One. They end the month with another competition, they'll face MK Dons in the Football League Trophy

They'll be eager to get a strong start to the season, different to last year where they had quite a harrowing opening few months - which eventually led to the sacking of Jake Buxton

Burton have impressed so far, and some will be wondering and believing that they might be a dark horse over the course of the season.