OXFORD United are braced for a very different Burton Albion side to the one they faced just four months ago.

On January 2, the U’s cruised to a 5-1 win at the Pirelli Stadium, with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink watching from the stands after being announced as Brewers boss the previous evening.

Burton were rock bottom and seriously lacking confidence, but the transformation since then has been incredible.

They have claimed 44 points from their last 23 games, the fifth-highest total in Sky Bet League One in that time and one more than United.

Hasselbaink’s side are now 16th in the table after securing safety with three matches to spare and Karl Robinson is full of admiration for his counterpart.

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The U’s head coach said: “I texted Jimmy when they were safe to say ‘what an achievement’.

“I remember after playing them at their place, I went upstairs for a coffee with him and Dino (Maamria, assistant manager).

“I didn’t leave the ground for about an hour and a half.

“We were talking about players and what he wanted to do.

“He’s someone who I’ve got a lot of time and respect for, we get on away from football.

“He’s one of the good guys and he’s a good manager.

“What he has done is remarkable.

“I know Jimmy, John Mousinho played for Jimmy as well.

“He will work right up until the last whistle, that’s his personality.

“We know how hard it’s going to be.”

Hasselbaink signed nine players in the January transfer window, including Sean Clare on loan from United.

The 24-year-old has featured in every game he has been available, impressing in a central midfield role, but cannot play tomorrow.

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It means Hasselbaink will be forced to make at least one change, but James Henry is well aware that whoever is involved will have something to prove.

He said: “I think most people after that game would’ve written them off in terms of staying in the league and look what they’ve done.

“They’ve had a fantastic run of form, they’ve been scoring goals for fun and getting results for fun, so it’s going to be a really difficult game and I’m sure they’ll want to put things right.

“Every game’s important, there will be people playing for contracts and people knowing they’re out of contract and other clubs watching them.

“No-one wants to lose the last game of the season – that’s what you’re judged on.”