Burton fans were more than happy to announce pre-match that their team was coming to park the ‘big yellow bus’ against Newcastle United.
In what has become the norm, teams such as Burton and Wigan four day earlier, line up with two solid defensive lines and dare Newcastle to try and break them down.
In the 2009/10 promotion season, Newcastle United didn’t lose a game at St James Park.
This season saw Rafa’s team lose four of the first 11 Championship games at home and the smash and grab tactics of Wolves, Huddersfield and especially Blackburn, has encouraged others to do the same in ever increasing numbers.
The feeling seems to be that if you can keep Newcastle out, there is joy to be had on the counter-attack and in particular with Yedlin & Clark missing, the defence has very little pace elsewhere. No wonder Chancel Mbemba was brought out of the wilderness against Burton on Wednesday night.
A feature of the Championship when Chris Hughton took the Magpies up, was how many Newcastle fans were impressed by the number of teams who came and had a real go. It felt so refreshing after the Premier League had become increasingly focused on teams going for all out defence.
Not that it did those clubs in 2009/10 much good, Hughton’s Newcastle picking up 18 wins, five draws and no defeats. On top of that, there were 56 goals in 23 home games for NUFC and only 13 conceded.
Fast forward to the current season and in 20 games at St James Park, Newcastle have scored 41 but conceded 21, already eight more than the last promotion season.
So against this current Newcastle United team, the visiting clubs certainly appear to be making the right decision on tactics, no matter what it does to our entertainment.
Now on the verge of promotion and hopefully that can be tied up quickly, then all Newcastle fans can look forward to a return to the Premier League and whether Rafa’s team will move from being the hunters to the hunted.
If promoted can the United boss manage to bring in the players who can get the team on the front foot and not end up parking a black and white bus like so many opponents have done this campaign?