Burton Albion's run of four friendlies in six days kicks off this evening with a game at Midland Football League Premier Division side Rocester.

The Brewers' unbeaten start to pre-season came to an end over the weekend, with AFC Wimbledon recording a 3-0 victory over Nigel Clough's side at Kingsmeadow on Friday night before a 2-2 draw at Matlock Town on Saturday.

That game featured a myriad of Burton Albion academy graduates - the likes of Matt Palmer, Ben Fox, Joe Sbarra, Jayden Cotterill and Jack Hallahan all started.

Tonight's game could well see some of the current academy stars taking on the Romans, with Premier League West Bromwich Albion on the horizon on Wednesday. Trips to Arnold Town and Shrewsbury Town follow on Thursday and Saturday respectively.

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Matlock Town and AFC Wimbledon reaction

Follow all of the action with our live matchday blog, and get in touch by tweeting @JoshuaMurrayBM and @BurtonAlbionBM.

The verdict

Just how valuable is a 90-minute outing like that for Burton Albion’s up-and-coming academy players? Time will tell - but they acquitted themselves well after a tough opening 20.

Here’s the verdict on some promising performances and plenty of experience for the Brewers...

Marcus Dinanga
Marcus Dinanga (Image: John Potts)

FULL TIME

That sort of test could prove a very valuable one for these young Brewers down the line. A goal late on gave them a boost, and they were rarely overrun after that first 15 minutes or so.

GOAL to the Brewers - Clamp

Good, tenacious battling in the Rocester box by Davies, who slides it across for Kyle Clamp. His first-time finish, with the outside of the foot past an advancing keeper, is very tidy. The Brewers deserve that.

GOAL to Rocester

And another for Wesson, released by Martin and sliding a finish past Hawkins. Burton maybe slightly tiring - but this has been a really valuable test tonight.

GOAL to Rocester

A third for the Romans, who have been less dominant this half. A bouncing ball drops through to Smyth on the left flank, and he cuts back for Scott Wesson to divert inside the far post.

Smith hobbles off

Max Smith looked a strong presence at centre-back tonight for Burton, but his night is over, hobbling off after a late challenge by a Rocester sub.

James Helhado on in his place, as Riddell ghosts clear but lifts a chip over Hawkins’ bar.

Brewers showing their fitness

Albion look a fit bunch here - and their endurance may continue to show as the half wears on. They are stretching the Romans more down the channels and enjoying extended spells of pressure, without yet testing Alex Langridge in the home goal.

Inches wide

...from being 3-0 to the hosts. Oliver Roome gets in behind and beats the offside trap, slides a low shot past Hawkins - but just wide.

Half-time changes

Burton have made two substitutions over the break, Clamp and Cook on for Harrison and Bromfield.

Off we go again

The second half is underway, Brewers getting us going again.

HALF TIME

After an audacious long-range chip from Smyth - that almost pays off for Rocester - the whistle goes.

As testing as we expected for the young Brewers, but they have definitely grown into this one.

First Brewers chance

The best opening so far for Albion, Davies skipping down the left, bursting inside and pulling back for Dinanga - first-time shot blocked.

Good free-kick, good save

Joe Brockley fires a free-kick towards the top righthand corner of Callum Hawkins goal - but the Albion stopper is equal to it, diving across to claw it out of the sky.

Vale drags wide - Brewers asking questions

There’s no doubting who’s in control here, but this young Albion team are starting to fight back. Dinanga and Harrison both win a couple of aerial battles, and one catches the home defence out.

Jake Davies gets it on the right flank, cuts inside and shoots with his left foot - dragged wide.

Rocester knocking again

Right-winger Rob Ritchie-Smith seeing plenty of the ball so far, and his beautiful cross is inches off the head of Oliver Roome, lurking to divert it home for 3-0.

Lively Dowd

Charlie Dowd is playing in a sort of number 10 role here - fitting given he’s wearing that shirt.

He is being put under plenty of pressure, but is keeping the Rocester defence switched on.

GOAL to Rocester

Callum Riddell has scored an absolute beauty. He touches the ball in between Hammerton and Dowd to make room for himself, then bullets a dipping shot from 20 yards. Unstoppable

Dinanga looking to get in behind

Matthews battles well on the left flank to win possession and chip a ball through for DInanga to run onto. Lynch is across first to intercept, but the Brewers starting to stretch their hosts a bit more now.

Nearly 2-0

A low cross flies unchecked all the way across the Burton box and Tom Brown is there at the back post, seemingly to turn it home.

Nope, dragged just wide.

Rocester quick and sharp from start

The first five minutes were Burton just trying to get a foot on the ball as Rocester showed their strength and tenacity in the middle.

Albion have started to get a bit of a foothold now, DInanga charging through the middle and feeding Harrison.

GOAL to Rocester

That didn’t take long - we have an early goal. A corner comes in, it’s nodded towards goal by Rob Ritchie-Smith, with Oliver Roome on the post. Did he get the touch to poke home? Either way, it’s advantage Rocester.

KICK OFF

Off we go. An early sniff for Tom Brown of Rocester - ball pulled back to him in the area, he pushes it well wide.

About ready?

Three wins, a draw and a defeat so far this summer. What is in store for Burton Albion this evening?

Overseeing the warm up

Academy manager Dan Robinson and academy coach Sam Rose watch on as a young Brewers squad get ready for tonight’s game with the Romans.

It’s sure to be a real test of their mettle against a senior Rocester outfit.

Dan Robinson and Sam Rose watch a young Burton Albion side warm up at Rocester
Dan Robinson and Sam Rose watch a young Burton Albion side warm up at Rocester

Goalkeeper update

A new goalkeeper is one of Nigel Clough’s transfer targets for the rest of this summer.

Here’s an update from the manager on how things are going - and what sort of deal they are looking at...

Harry Campbell called into action against AFC Wimbledon
Harry Campbell called into action against AFC Wimbledon (Image: Rob Sambles/Epic Action Imagery)

Dinanga as a wide option?

That’s something we’ll get to look at tonight. He starts on the left flank in a 4-4-1-1, having scored as a lone striker in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Matlock.

And the subs

Burton Albion team news

Here’s the Brewers XI for tonight. As expected, it’s a young Burton Albion team, with Marcus Dinanga the senior player involved.

Jake Davies replaces Ethan Vale in that XI.

Another chance for youngsters to shine

On Saturday, a host of Brewers academy graduates and some current under-18 players featured in the 2-2 draw with Matlock Town.

Tonight is likely to be another opportunity for Albion’s potential stars of the future to catch the eye.

Marcus Dinanga grabs his goal for Burton Albion
Marcus Dinanga grabs his goal for Burton Albion (Image: Richard Holmes/Burton Albion)

Heading to West Brom or Leicester City games?

If you’re planning on going to Albion’s two home pre-season friendlies - against West Brom on Wednesday and Leicester City the following Tuesday (August 1) - then this might be worth a read.

Jamie Vardy tussles with Shane Cansdell-Sherriff
Jamie Vardy tussles with Shane Cansdell-Sherriff (Image: Plumb Images/Leicester City via Getty Images)