Nigel Clough’s League One side have been underdogs in every round of the competition so far, but they’ve continued to outperform some sizeable quotes
The other competitor remaining in the hunt though, would have raised more than a few eyebrows at the start of the campaign – or indeed many of the previous rounds.
Burton Albion have reached the last four of the competition and will now meet the defending champions in a two-legged affair to decide who heads to Wembley on February 24.
Sitting an unremarkable 10 points off the play-off places in the third tier, Burton have continued to defy expectations in the pursuit of cup glory. They’ve been underdogs in every round to date but have defied expectations – and some big prices – to keep their dreams alive.
An all-League One encounter against Shrewsbury Town saw Burton get their Carabao Cup journey up and running. Clough’s side were 21/10 (3.10) outsiders to get the better of their hosts in Shropshire but triumphed by a 2-1 margin.
The journey continued with a 1-0 home win over Championship side Aston Villa on August 28, springing a relative shock at 16/5 (4.20) in the process but there were plenty of thrills and spills along the way.
Goalkeeper Stephen Bywater went off injured after half an hour and substitute Harry Campbell saved a second half penalty from Albert Adomah to ensure victory. Burton also went down to 10 men late as Kyle McFadzean was sent off but survived to qualify for the next stage.
The third round saw the Brewers paired with Premier League side Burnley. Despite Burton having home advantage, the bookmakers certainly expected Sean Dyche’s men to come out on top, making the visitors 9/10 (1.90) favourites.
Things looked good for the Clarets when Kevin Long opened the scoring but a second half rally including goals from Liam Boyce and Jamie Allan saw the outsiders defy pre-match quotes of 7/2 (4.50) with bet365 to get the victory.
The round of 16 brought with it a local clash against Clough’s former club, Nottingham Forest. The 52-year-old made over 400 appearances as a player for the Reds, scoring 131 goals.
The family name is synonymous with success at the City Ground after Nigel – Brian’s father – led the club to two European Cups and numerous other successes during an 18-year spell in charge.
Clough even turned down the opportunity to manage his former club in January 2017 and the Burton boss showed no mercy to his previous employers when the pair met in late October.
A thrilling end-to-end affair finished 3-2 to the Brewers and while it wasn’t the biggest upset of the campaign, the home side were 27/10 (3.70) underdogs prior to kick-off.
The quarter finals saw Burton as 13/2 (7.50) shots to get the better of Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium. Boro are in the hunt for promotion to the Premier League and were expected to prove too good in front of their own fans. Nevertheless, Jake Hesketh’s goal just after half-time gave the visitors a famous 1-0 win to set up a glamour tie with Manchester City.
A theoretical £1 stake on Burton to beat Shrewsbury with the winnings rolled onto the Brewers in each subsequent round at the prices mentioned above would have paid out £1,625.87 after their win over Tony Pulis’ side.
A clash with Pep Guardiola’s men is the biggest task yet for Burton, who are 33/1 (34.0) to qualify for the final. bet365 go 40/1 (41.0) they come out on top in the first leg at the Etihad on Wednesday before the return fixture on February 21.
Odds correct at the time of publish. Please gamble responsibly.