Date: 16th December 2011 at 7:50pm
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This Saturday sees the visit of currently bottom-placed Dagenham & Redbridge with both sides in search of points, but for entirely different reasons.

For Burton, they need to bounce back after the embarrassing display last time out at Crawley. For Dagenham, they currently find themselves rooted to the bottom of the League 2 table after a dismal run of results.

As mentioned, last Saturday Burton were outclassed at Crawley but remained in fifth place thanks to Swindon only managing a draw at Bristol Rovers. However they can`t rely on the others around them to keep the Brewers in the promotion play-off positions, but therein lies another problem. Burton are pants at home against lowly opponents this season.

Already at home this season Burton have scraped to an untidy 2-1 win against a then bottom-placed Plymouth side, the majority of whose players were threatening to strike. Then, against then third-from-bottom Bradford City, a team on a terrible losing run at the time, they looked second best and luckily secured a 2-2 draw in a game the form book said should have been a home banker.

Dagenham, although suffering from shocking league form of late, come to The Pirelli on the back of a morale-boosting win midweek in their FA Cup replay against Walsall at Bescot Stadium, a game attended by Paul Peschisolido on a scouting mission. Their league form has seen them lose nine consecutive matches, with their last win being way back on 1st October when Crewe succumbed to a 2-1 defeat. Dagenham have played nine away games this season that have seen a return of six points after two wins and seven defeats. On their travels they have scored a paltry six goals, conceding sixteen. At home Burton have played ten, winning six, drawing three and the sole defeat coming at the hands of Cheltenham Town. During those matches we`ve scored fifteen and, worryingly, conceded ten.

On the team front, missing for Dagenham on Tuesday night were Mark Arber, Luke Howell, Sam Williams, Jake Reed and Dominic Green, all of whom were injured. Additionally they were also unable to select Exodus Geohaghon, Cristian Montano and Adam Cunningham, due to those players being on loan at Victoria Road. There`s little news available as to how many of the injured players will take to the pitch on Saturday, but it is almost certain that Burton will find themselves up against former Gresley striker, Brian Woodall. Woodall signed for Dagenham back in January, but saw out the season with our near-neighbours, finally joining the League 2 outfit in the summer. There’s been talk that he’s the “one who got away”, but with a return of a couple of goals in fifteen or so appearances, the new Paul Benson he ain’t (and boy are those words likely to come back and haunt me at 4.50pm Saturday….!).

For Burton, Tony James looks to be out due to a groin injury picked up in training, so a return for Nathan Stanton is on the cards. A return is also rumoured for John McGrath, with the probability that Adam Bolder will find himself watching on from the bench, and there are reports that stalwart right back, Andy Corbett, could find himself back in the line-up at the expense of Kevin Amankwaah. After ineffective displays against Crawley, Jimmy Phillips and Andres Gurrieri, are likely to be offered bench duty at best.

It is up front that Burton could find themselves spoilt by the riches available to them, with Justin Richards and Billy Kee both declaring themselves available for selection after time out through injury. You`ve got to assume that Calvin Zola will keep his starting spot, so the other shirt is up for grabs and it is anyone`s guess as to who will run out of the tunnel and who will skulk to the bench.

This is one of those matches (just like those against Plymouth and Bradford) where you`d think Burton will score a hatful, in the process reinforcing their play-off place. However, as Dagenham showed on Tuesday night, they are a team that can fight for their lives and whichever eleven players take to the field tomorrow for Burton Albion, they should not take their opponents for granted.

Vital Burton goes for a hard fought and scrappy 2-1 win to Burton tomorrow.