GARRY Monk says the “law of averages” indicate Burton Albion will eventually pick up a first away win of the season – warning Leeds United to ensure it does not arrive against them.
Nigel Clough’s newly-promoted Brewers will arrive for Saturday’s Championship clash at Elland Road sitting 15th in the table, buoyed by a fine record at the Pirelli Stadium but weighed down by a poor record on their travels.
Leeds, meanwhile, have risen to 10th in the table – and just three points off the play-offs – following a run of 16 points from their last possible 24 and a six-game unbeaten run at Elland Road, four games of which have resulted in victories.
With seven Championship away games having yet to yield a win for Burton, Leeds are around evens favourites with the bookmakers – but Monk has been impressed by Burton’s adaptation to life in the Championship and is urging his Whites to bring their A-game to avoid becoming the first team Albion beat at home.
“All of those things, there comes a point where things can change,” said Monk of Burton’s away record.
“If you don’t win a game here or you don’t pick up points here or there, those things eventually change by the law of averages.
“We just have to make sure it’s not at the weekend, that we can keep their record away from home of not winning games. We need to make sure that carries on for at least another game so we have to be ready. We have to be really focused and put our best football on the pitch and do it with the determination that we have been showing and work hard ourselves. We hold ourselves accountable to that.
“It’s a big, big game for us on Saturday and we have to be ready. We have to be focused and it’s the responsibility of me and for the players to make sure that we are.”
Leeds approach the fixture just four days after an epic EFL Cup tie against Norwich City which United won on penalties to set up a quarter-final at Liverpool at the end of November.
Burton, meanwhile, beat Birmingham City 2-0 at the Pirelli last Friday night, giving them an extra four days’ rest.
“It puts us at a disadvantage so what we have to be is ready,” said Monk. “We have to be really focused. That’s not manager talk or spiel, that’s actually the truth and how it works.
“But we have recovered well – we have been training today and we are training tomorrow – really trying to focus the boys into what to expect on Saturday and indeed what we expect from ourselves and we have to hold ourselves accountable to it.”
Asked if he viewed the game as a potential banana skin, Monk admitted: “It can be – if we are not focused and if we are not ready. Burton are a good team, they are in good form, they are playing very well this season and they have had some really good results so it can definitely be (a banana skin). I think every game can be if you’re not ready and focused.
“But this is partly my job and it’s the players’ job as well.
“What we all have to remember is that there is no easy game and that was proven when we played Wigan.
“Everyone expected us to beat Wigan – comfortably – on paper – but it never works out like that and we are coming up against a good side, a really good side.
“We are going to have to be at our maximum.”
Assessing United’s progress in his tenure so far, Monk mused: “There’s still a lot more developing to go and who knows exactly what they can be.
“All I know is that if we can make them reach their full potential then the sky is the limit for them. But let’s not get carried away.
“We are in a very tough division. We are in an okay position, we are not in a great position. So we want to try and make an okay position even better so that’s our focus and that’s the next step that we keep talking about.
“The game on Saturday is three points – trying to put an improved performance on again and see where that takes us.”