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Rupert Wyman 4th Feb 2009 - 20:16

Burton brewing up the title

Burton Albion sit an incredible sixteen points clear at the top of the Blue Square Premier, albeit second-placed Histon have three games in hand, ahead of Rushden & Diamonds' visit to the Pirelli Stadium which is live on Setanta Sports 1 on Thursday.

The Brewers lost their manager Nigel Clough to Derby, as the son of legend Brian Clough departed after a long spell in charge of the part-timers.

With their massive lead Albion are dreaming of a first ever promotion to the Football League and with odds of 1/8 for the title it shows how secure their grip on top spot is.

Clough's replacement is an ex-Derby manager in Roy McFarland. McFarland is really on a hiding to nothing as if Burton win the league then people will think they were going to anyway and if he dare fail then he will be known as the man that denied Burton their chance of league football.

Nevertheless it has been a seamless transition from the Clough regime to the new one with five played matches so far, winning three, drawing one and losing one.

Worryingly though last time out in the FA Trophy Burton were hammered 4-0 by Stevenage. The Brewers will hope that this was a one-off and will look forward to returning to their fortress that is the Pirelli Stadium.

Burton have a record of played 15, won 11 and drawn four at home this season in the league.

Therefore understandably they are odds-on favourites to beat Rushden & Diamonds at 8/13. Diamonds can be backed at 9/2 with the draw available at 14/5.

With their home record as it is Burton's odds look a tad generous especially as Rushden have not won away in the league since 29th November.

Rushden currently find themselves down in 11th place in the table on 40 points, nine points off a play-off place.

The days of Rushden having high expectations are gone after their meteoric rise through the football pyramid thanks to the backing of Dr. Martens entrepreneur Max Griggs which saw the club, which was only formed in 1992 with a merger between Irthlingborough Diamonds and Rushden Town, rise up to League One. But Griggs gradually pulled out his investment which saw them fall down to the Blue Square Premier as quickly as they had risen from it.

Garry Hill's side are currently without a win in seven matches in all competitions, so they are yet to register a win in 2009.

If you are put off by 8/13 about a home win, to increase your odds you might like to look towards Burton on the handicap as it looks like a bit of value.

With a -1 goal start for Burton you can get 9/5 about the Brewers winning, therefore if Burton win by two clear goals the bet comes in.

Another alternative to increase your value for money would be to look at the correct score betting, where a 2-1 win for Burton at 7/1 could appeal if you are not very confident about the handicap bet coming off.

In the goalscoring markets Rushden's top scorer Sam Smith is a 7/2 shot to net at any point during the match and looks like Diamonds' most likely source of goals.

For Burton you probably can't really look much further than Greg Pearson who has scored 16 goals this season. He is 7/2 to score the first goal or 10/11 to score at anytime.

Strike-partner Shaun Harrad, who has 13 goals to his name, is 4/1 to score first and even money to score in the 90 minutes.

However all three players above look too short to consider to back. So it is Burton's left-winger Keith Gilroy who could be the value bet at 7/2 to score anytime.

Be sure to join us for the 19:45 kick-off - when the action gets underway you'll still be able to get a bet on. Whatever happens in the match, our betlive service will have all the angles covered.

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