ANDY GARNER JOINS AS COACH + MATT ASH AS ANALYST
Fri 13 Nov 2020
We are pleased to welcome Andy Garner (pictured) to the coaching team along with senior performance analyst Matt Ash.
MUCH EARLIER STORY:
Highlights, presentations and recruitment - a week in the life of the Burton Albion analyst
Matt Ash probably sees more Burton Albion action than anybody else at the club...
3 JUL 2017
staffordshire-live.co.uk, By Josh Murray
Burton Albion are back into pre-season training and preparations for the 2017/18 season are officially under way.
The Brewers squad will be put through their paces over the next five weeks, with fitness tests, training sessions and friendly fixtures to ensure they are in the best position for the gruelling 46-game campaign that the Championship offers.
It is a supremely challenging season and that is why Nigel Clough and his management team put so much stock in fitness, commitment and a tireless work ethic.
But at least those on the pitch only have to go through the 90-minute haul once.
For Matt Ash, that is not the case.
"During the game is where part of the preparation for the post-match analysis starts," says the Brewers’ analyst.
"I am up in the gantry, every home and away game, filming the game. I’m linked into my laptop from my camera, so I have a live stream of the game, and I’ve got software available which allows me to clip the game as it’s going on.
"So usually within the match I’ll create a highlights package based on the kind of things that I know the gaffer and the coaching staff will want to see after the game, or at half-time, if there’s been a particular incident.
"We (Matt and sports scientist Chris Beardsley) are up there and linked into the bench and just from being up with that view, maybe they might want help with what kind of shape the opposition are playing because you’ve got that bird’s-eye view of things.
"If myself and Chris see something that we think might be useful, we’ll radio it down - but usually if the gaffer or the coaching staff want to know something, they’ll ask us.
"So that is in-game and it leads into your post-game, which is me going over the game on the Sunday again, fully coding it (clipping the game into video highlights).
"I know some analysts will completely code a game during the game but I like to watch it back the day after.
"I feel that if I’m too engrossed in my coding when I’m up in the gantry, I’ll miss something.
"I like to actually watch the pitch and watch the game, rather than watch it too much through the screen.
"Going over it is what I like to do the next day.
"At the end, I tend to come out with highlights for both teams during the game and then any other little incidents like penalty shouts and red cards.
"Then there’s player clips, so I code everyone’s individual clips, which will include touches, recovery runs, things like that, and they get sent to each individual player.”
Ash began in a voluntary role with the Albion youth team in the 2013-14 campaign, as the Brewers were beaten in the League Two play-off final at Wembley. He progressed to the first team the following season and has continued under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Nigel Clough.
With 46 games played across a nine-month campaign that contains four international breaks, the Championship does not let up once it gets going.
Ash is all too aware of that. Once one game is over and is thoroughly analysed, it’s straight onto the next, where he prepares information on the upcoming opponent for Albion’s management and playing staff.
And that means plenty more football to take in.
"Pre-game and opposition stuff starts as soon as the last game has finished," he says.
"I usually watch three or four matches of the next opposition through footage. When I watch those, I’ll have feedback from Gary Crosby, Simon Clough and Michael Forsyth - the three of them will be out watching games at the weekends and watching opposition.
"They give me a kind of idea of what I’m looking for. It’s basically my job to set out, for the players, a visual, to-the-point presentation of what the opposition are about, which we’ll show them as close to kick-off as we can.
"We’ll have discussions as well earlier in the week. It’s my job to know about how the opposition are going to play, so we’ll have discussions between the staff about how they are going to play as well.
"That’s one part of it, knowing the opponents’ strengths and weaknesses, formations, personnel, who is going to be out injured, suspensions, stuff like that.
"Also you might have one or two lads who come up to me and might ask me about individuals that they are up against."
That repetitive cycle of pre and post-match analysis will soon be starting again for Ash at the Pirelli Stadium - but there is another responsibility he fulfils throughout the season.
While player recruitment is only possible inside the summer and January transfer windows, teams are constantly on the look-out for personnel they could look to bring in to bolster their ranks.
That is no different with Burton - and analyst Ash has his part to play in that business as well.
"Gary (Crosby), Simon (Clough) and Michael (Forsyth) are always out watching players," he added.
"It’s my job to help them where I can in terms of providing footage of any individual player, maybe giving an idea of who’s out of contract, giving ideas of general info about players - ages, what clubs they’ve been at, appearance records, things like that.
"It goes on all the time. The thing about it is I will show them footage where I can but we will never, ever take a player on the back of footage.
"It’s simply giving an idea of a player and then Gary, Simon, Michael and, at times, all the coaching staff when they’ve got time and we’re not playing, will put the hard graft in and travel the miles to watch, on multiple occasions, to make sure that player is right.
"You can’t see from footage a lot of things that you see in the game - there’s nothing better than going to a game.
"You’ll see things that you don’t see on footage. You see body language of players off the ball, you’ll see even little things in warm-ups that you keep a look out for.
"I’m there just to help, to get any extra info that the guys who lead it need.”
Another year in the Championship means another busy season for Albion as they seek to maintain a spot in English football’s second tier.
There can be little doubt that Ash, with laptop and reams of video footage in tow, will be as busy as ever as well.