Brewers Seek Shot In The Arm

The Brewers have taken only one point from seven Conference games against the Shots, conceding 19 goals in the process.

But manager Nigel Clough is hoping a favourable set of midweek results will stiffen Albion's resolve to stay among the promotion front-runners.

Aldershot's 3-0 defeat at Forest Green could have a backlash — but it is one of a series of midweek results that improved Albion's position without them having to kick a ball.

Play-off rivals Oxford United, York City, Gravesend & Northfleet and Morecambe all dropped points, handing Albion the chance to climb to second place in the table if they can win their games in hand.

Manager Nigel Clough said last night: "We're going to Aldershot in a very good position because we could have dropped out of the play-off places on Tuesday.

"Ninety per cent of the time it's all about us, but when other results go in your favour it gives you an extra boost — and it's important we don't surrender that advantage."

Ideally, the Brewers would like to emulate their performance on the opening day of the season when they recorded their first Conference win in 10 attempts against Morecambe.

But, with Aldershot desperate for points as manager Terry Btown clings to his job, Clough would settle for a repeat of Albion's last visit to the Hampshire ground, where Aaron Webster's goal earned a point.

He said: "Aldershot are having an up-and-down season at the moment, and they'll be very anxious to bounce back from the Forest Green game.

"That means they could come at us with all guns blazing and it will be important that we don't give them any encouragement."

Clough will be looking for a repeat of what was, on the surface, a modest performance that resulted in 1-0 defeat of relegation strugglers St Albans City at the Pirelli Stadium.

He said: "After winning at Stevenage the other night, St Albans have now scored more goals away from home than any other Conference team.

"That puts an even better light on our result against them because they managed only one shot against us in 90 minutes, which means we defended extremely well.

"At the same time, we still managed to create chances — and that is the combination we will be looking for at Aldershot."

Albion's line-up is likely to show only one change from the side that completed the double over St Albans.

The suspension of Gary Rowett gives teenager John Brayford another chance to enchance his reputation as a potential first-team regular.

Striker Lloyd Opara makes his last appearance on loan from Peterborough United.

Clough has still to decide whether to approach Posh with a view to keeping the frontrunner for a second month.

He said: "We brought Lloyd in to help us through January and expected him to play five games. Unfortunately because of postponements, Aldershot will only be his third game for us.

"We'll wait until after the weekend before we decide whether to speak to Peterborough about keeping him for a few more games."

ALBION PROBABLE: Poole; Brayford, Stride, Tinson, Webster; Corbett, Holmes, Carden, Gilroy; Clare, Opara; subs from: Austin, Shaw, Henshaw, Harrad, Goodfellow, Taylor.

With thanks to the Burton Mail.