BURTON CONFIRM AKINS AND BRAYFORD RUMOURS
Six weeks' work crammed into a week as Hasselbaink tunes new squad
And he reveals the truth about those Mansfield Town transfer rumours
derbytelegraph.co.uk, By Colston Crawford, 5 FEB 2021
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink admits his overhaul of the Burton Albion squad is a gamble - but says it is one he had no choice but to make.
Hasselbaink brought in nine players in the January transfer window, with seven leaving the club. It is the fourth January window of his career and he previously brought in five players in his first spell with Burton, three while with Queens Park Rangers and five with Northampton Town. Part of the gamble has also involved having to integrate the newcomers into the squad in a week - and it has been like a mini pre-season.
And here's what the manager had to say about those Mansfield rumours...
Mansfield Town did attempt to lure John Brayford and Lucas Akins away during the transfer window, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has confirmed. But the Brewers rebuffed the approach, feeling the pair still have an important role to play in the battle against relegation from League One.
Strong rumours circulated, particularly in the last days of the window, that Mansfield manager Nigel Clough wanted to sign the two. He has previously signed Brayford several times and the experienced defender is the current Burton captain. He did not sign Akins for the Brewers - Gary Rowett did that - but was manager for the majority of the seven years that Akins has spent with the club.
Were Mansfield interested, current manager Hasselbaink was asked?
“They were - but we were not in a position to let them go,” was the Dutchman’s response.
It might have been different, in Akins’ case, if Hasselbaink had signed another striker himself. The Brewers were linked with a move for Ryan Bowman of Exeter City, who was also linked with Cheltenham Town but, in the end, did not leave Exeter.
“We were looking for a striker,” said Hasselbaink. “We did bid for one, we thought we had him but, at the last moment, we didn’t and I couldn’t even think about letting Lucas go. How could I replace him? We said no, just as the other club had said no to us, which is fine, that’s how it goes.”
The manager sees no issue with either of the experienced pros continuing to give their all for the Burton cause - as they are contracted to do, he pointed out. Akins and Brayford are among the older heads Hasselbaink hopes his younger players will learn in what he now sees as a better balanced Burton squad.