Burton Albion stunned Middlesbrough in the EFL Cup last night, reaching the semi-finals of the competition against all the odds.
The Brewers are 15th in League One, but have already beaten Burnley, Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest en route to their match with Boro. Tony Pulis named a strong squad, but it wasn’t enough to prevent them slipping to defeat.
Burton had just one win from four going into the game, but Jake Hesketh’s 48th minute strike was enough to send them to within three games of a place in Europe next season.
As things turn out, their goal hero might not be available to help them in their two-legged semi final, nor help them with their slim hopes of a play-off place in League One.
It’s thought he could be recalled by parent club Southampton. Read Southampton have suggested that his form could mean that the Saints are unwilling to extend his loan deal, which expires in January.
After the game, Hesketh confirmed his aim is Premier League football, but hinted that even playing ‘top Championship sides’ helps him out:
“Everyone’s aim is to play in the Premier League and that is my goal too. Every game like this when you play a top Championship side will help me.”
“It’s nice to know they are watching because as much as I want to impress people here and prove myself to everyone, the people at Southampton are the people I probably want to impress the most.”
He’s going back in January, surely. There will be a Championship side willing to take a punt and the higher level will only aid him in his development.
It’ll be a big blow for Burton, but their cup heroics are masking a rather average League One campaign. They’re settling back into the level after dropping out the Championship last season.