JOHN Mousinho is well aware of the challenge facing Oxford United this afternoon.

The U’s travel to Burton Albion in Sky Bet League One (3pm) as two of English football’s form teams in 2021 go head-to-head.

Only four sides in the top four divisions have accumulated more points than United in the calendar year, while today’s opponents are joint ninth in that table.

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That is despite the U’s winning 5-1 at the Pirelli Stadium on January 2 to leave Burton eight points from safety, with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink watching on having returned for his second spell in charge.

Mousinho captained the Brewers to Sky Bet League Two title glory under the Dutchman in 2014/15 and will be on the touchline alongside United assistant boss Craig Short today, after head coach Karl Robinson tested positive for coronavirus.

“They’re probably one of the form teams in the country since the turn of the new year,” he said.

“His first game was when we went to the Pirelli and beat them 5-1.

“They looked like they were in real trouble at that point, rock bottom of the league.

“Anyone who watched that game would have said whoever comes in they’re going to really struggle.

“They’ve done a fantastic job to turn things around, they brought in a lot of new players in January and they’ve had a complete overhaul of the squad again in the summer.

“We’re expecting a really good, organised Burton side that are going to be challenging for a top-six place this season.”

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Both teams have the chance to end the day in the League One play-offs, with seventh-placed Burton a point and a position above the U’s, having played one game more.

United have already visited the Pirelli Stadium this season, triumphing on penalties following a 1-1 draw in the Carabao Cup first round in August.

Mousinho only came on as an 87th-minute substitute that day, but still had time to score an unfortunate last-ditch own goal – before dispatching the winning spot-kick.

Looking at both teams’ line-ups that day, only eight players started that game and their side’s midweek victories over Shrewsbury Town and Fleetwood Town respectively.

It means the U’s can learn little from their last visit, according to Mousinho.

He said: “We can take a few bits, but they’ve evolved quite significantly over the last 15 games, as have we.

“There’s probably a little bit of merit in going back and watching that game, but we put out a different side and Burton made quite a few changes as well.

“There’s some things to be taken from it, but this game’s a completely different kettle of fish.”