League One boss rubbishes social media rumours as he gets distracted ahead of Portsmouth visit

Burton boss hits back at social media rumours as he prepares his side to host Pompey
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Dino Maamria has suffered an unwelcome distraction as he prepares his Burton side for tonight’s visit of Pompey to the Pirelli Stadium.

Rather than focusing all his attention on the game and the Brewers’ bid to climb the League One table, the 49-year-old has found himself preoccupied with social media rumours that have been circulating.

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Some of the gossip has centred on his relationship with summer signing Cole Stockton, who has scored just one goal in 10 appearances for Burton to date. Other chatter, meanwhile, followed a heated discussion between four members of the Brewers squad after Saturday’s 4-0 defeat at the hands of Peterborough - a frank exchange of views that occurred before the players left the pitch.

According to Maamria, comments made and social media do little to help him or the club moving forward. He rubbished talk that he has fallen out with Stockton, who has been linked with Pompey in the past. The former Stevenage and Oldham boss also insisted his squad’s ‘togetherness was unwavering’.

Taking time of out his pre-match press conference to address the issues, Maamria said: ‘I’ve been reading people saying “what happened to Dino and Cole Stockton after the game?” and I want to put it to one side. Whoever is spreading rumours like that, they’re nothing to do with the club and they're simply not true. Cole Stockton and I are very close. Actually, me and the players are very close.

‘As a manager, I would say this is the group I’ve been closest to. We are a very tight group together, our togetherness is what we are and anyone trying to affect that is not one of us. I saw someone asking the question and I thought: “well, I need to address this, because I don’t want things like that to get bigger than what they are”.

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“Those rumours are vindictive and (have) nothing to do with this club. Our togetherness is unwavering. I just don’t get why someone would say these things, because they couldn’t be further from the truth. Cole was part of the huddle (post-match at Peterborough), we spoke in the dressing room. Cole had many options in the summer and he chose to come to this club to work with me because I worked with him in the past and he knows what I’m about. We have a great relationship.’

Turning his attention to the words exchanged between Kwadwo Baah, Mason Bennett, Josh Gordon and Josh Walker at London Road on Saturday, Maamria added: ‘KB (Baah) was disappointed. He had come on and was really good and made a couple of good chances for our forwards and they missed them. I think he said something like “we’ve got to score those” - a comment like that. And one of our forwards, I don’t think he appreciated what KB said.

‘Was KB right to say that? He was frustrated because he had made a huge difference to us in the second half and created chances. Is he right in expressing it that way? No, because what goes on should be in the dressing room, not on the pitch in front of everyone. Cole Stockton was nothing to do with it at all, it was between KB, Mason, Josh Gordon and Josh Walker. It wasn’t helpful to the club.

‘Normally, I wouldn’t respond to something like that (the fans’ comments) but we are a small club and a tight group and I don’t want it to affect what we’re doing. Our togetherness is what we are, not just between me and players but the whole club. I would like to think that we have a brilliant relationship with our fans and that they understand where the club is.

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‘We need time with everything we’re trying to do. As I always say, success comes from money or time. We have to have time to stabilise the club, to build something sustainable longer term.’

Burton head into tonight's game looking for their first League One win since October 21, when they beat Bristol Rovers 4-1. Pompey are looking to bounce back straight away from their 4-0 defeat at the hands of Blackpool.