Mark Currie finds Burton Albion boss Nigel Clough ready for a tough test when his side travel to Colwyn Bay tomorrow
THE son of a famous father, Nigel Clough doesn’t make his mobile number widely available, but the Burton Albion manager is punctilious about responding to interview requests.
Less than 12 hours after watching his Blue Square Premier League outfit bow out of the FA Cup at Barnet, Clough is only too willing to talk about his side’s next challenge – tomorrow’s FA Trophy first round clash with Unibond League side Colwyn Bay at Llanelian Road.
For the Seagulls – 51 places below their opponents in the footballing pyramid – it promises to be more of a David v Goliath clash than Albion’s FA Cup second-round replay at Underhill, where only a late goal from former Wales under-21 international Adam Birchall saw the League Two side safely through to the third round.
But Clough, whose playing career included spells at Nottingham Forest and Liverpool, is taking nothing for granted.
“Saturday’s game at Colwyn Bay is by far the more important of the two matches this week,” he said.
“The FA Trophy is a far more winnable competition for us than the FA Cup and we want to go as far as we can, but I have to admit we don’t know an awful lot about Colwyn Bay.
“The roles will be reversed for this game with us being favourites, as opposed to underdogs, and we can expect Colwyn Bay to make it as difficult as they possibly can for us.”
Currently lying fifth in the table – and on course for the end-of-season play-offs – cup commitments mean Albion now have a break from league action until Boxing Day.
Following tomorrow’s visit to Llanelian Road, the Brewers have a Birmingham Senior Cup match in midweek and are involved in a Setanta Shield clash next weekend, which is being shown live on satellite television.
And Clough is hoping his players can put aside the disappointment of Tuesday’s Underhill defeat to make progress on three fronts.
“We did very well against Barnet over the two games and we felt we would go into extra time on Tuesday until seven minutes from the end when they got the only goal of the game,” he added.
“It was very disappointing to go so close so it’s very important that the players don’t feel sorry for themselves as we prepare for Saturday.
“We have been reasonably pleased with our performances so far this season and, while it would have been nice to go a bit further in the FA Cup, we are still in the hunt for three other cups.
“Obviously the aim is to be in the hat for all of them by the time we return to the bread and butter of the league and if that’s the case it should give everyone the boost they need to kick on.”
Albion certainly should not be short of support tomorrow and Clough expects to have a near full-strength squad to choose from. Only former Chester City striker Darryl Clare will be missing, despite the completion of a recent three-match ban.
He said: “Darryl needed a small operation on his ankle, which we decided to have done while he was serving his ban and he’s not quite ready for a return.
“Otherwise we are looking pretty good and hoping to give our supporters something to cheer about.
“We have a very good and loyal bunch of fans who travel to away games. There were 250 of them at Barnet on what was a very cold Tuesday evening and we’ll have a good following again on Saturday.”