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Burton Albion undergo a quiet revolution - Tom Sloan's opinion column

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 26, 2014

By Tom Sloan

FAMILIAR FACE ... Robbie Weir has been at the Pirelli for two years.

FAMILIAR FACE ... Robbie Weir has been at the Pirelli for two years.

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ON the face of it, not a lot has changed at Burton Albion this summer.

The way manager Gary Rowett got most of his business done early on after the disappointment of losing at Wembley makes it seem as though little has happened.

But there has been a quiet revolution at the Pirelli Stadium.

Of the 11 players who started against Fleetwood back in May, only four began the 1-0 win at Oxford on the opening day.

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The quartet is Phil Edwards, Robbie Weir, Alex MacDonald and Callum McFadzean.

Even if the suspension of Ian Sharps at Wembley is taken into account, along with Shane Cansdell-Sherriff missing out on the opening day through baby-related fatigue, it is an evolved team.

From the starting side in the League Two play-off final, Chris Hussey is now at Bury, Marcus Holness at Tranmere and Billy Kee at Scunthorpe after his move last week.

Of the seven named substitutes on May 26, Zander Diamond is at Northampton, Freddy Hall at Chester, David Gray at Hibernian, Zeli Ismail at Aberdeen and Gary Alexander heading into retirement after a cracking career – it was a shame Albion could not have had him a few years earlier.

So, a lot has changed in a quiet way.

Lucas Akins, Stuart Beavon, John Mousinho, George Taft and Jon McLaughlin have all arrived. They look a very good bet for playing most of the games this season.

Almost half a team represents a revolution.

But looking back even further the Brewers side has changed radically in just two years.

It shows the effect short contracts can have in the lower divisions.

Only Robbie Weir featured in the first game of the 2012-13 season, a Capital One Cup win at Sheffield United, as well as the victory at Oxford.

Lee Bell and Damien McCrory both also played two years ago but are currently out injured.

They should return soon, but Bell in particular faces a real battle to win back a first-team place.

It is a scrap the 31-year-old will relish.

Last season it looked like the combative former Crewe man could struggle to appear regularly after the arrival of Adam Reed and development of Matty Palmer.

However, he showed what he was made of and went on to make 41 appearances in all competitions, earning a new one-year deal.

He will now hope to be part of Rowett's quiet revolution, which is looking promising at this early stage of the season.

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