FEW people who watched Oxford United’s last league visit to the Pirelli Stadium would have predicted they would be making the trip again this season.

The 5-1 scoreline did not flatter the U’s in the slightest, with the rock-bottom Brewers so poor that they looked certainties for relegation.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink watched from the stands after his return had been announced the previous evening, and since that thrashing on January 2 Burton have been a team transformed.

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The Dutchman guided them to a 16th-place finish at the end of the season – ten points clear of the drop – and they are seventh ahead of today’s visit of United.

As we know, the U’s finished 2020/21 like a train to reach the Sky Bet League One play-offs and they sit a point and a place behind the Brewers this time around.

It means that today’s game is a meeting of two of the top-performing sides in English football this year.

Only four clubs in the top four divisions have taken more than United’s 70 points in 2021.

Manchester City join League One high-fliers Sunderland at the top of the pile, with 77 points each – although the Premier League champions have played nine fewer games.

Then come Blackpool and Bolton Wanderers, who have both claimed 71, with the U’s just behind alongside Sky Bet Championship outfit AFC Bournemouth.

Next come Queens Park Rangers and Tranmere Rovers, while Burton and Peterborough United share ninth-place with 66 points each.