preview of Saturday's game at the Globe ArenaThe Brewers head from the Shrimpers to the Shrimps this weekend following up their midweek victory over Southend United with another trip to the seaside as they head north to take on old rivals Morecambe on Saturday afternoon. Albion had to rely on a stoppage time free kick from Jacques Maghoma to seal the three points against the ten men of Southend but boss Gary Rowett was just happy to come away with three points that made it four wins from the last six league games to keep his side in good spirits ahead of their next trip.
"It is pretty well documented that we didn't play that well on Tuesday at Southend" Gary admitted, "but the lads are still really happy that we came away with the win. We take heart from the fact that we didn't necessarily play that well but still we got the three points and that isn't always a bad habit to get into. We are now six League games unbeaten and eight in all competitions over ninety minutes so we are doing okay at the minute and it is important that we don't get carried away and we don't lose focus because when we have gone a lot more games unbeaten and we are maybe sitting sixth in the League after thirty-odd games then we can maybe start thinking about other things but until we get to that point then we still have an awful lot of work to do."
Maghoma netting the club's 200th Football League goal may have grabbed the headlines but just as satisfying for the Brewers was another clean sheet, their third in six league games, as the new look defence and keeper Stuart Tomlinson chalked up another shut-up. Despite being up against ten men for most of the game Gary acknowledged that there was still a job to be done at the back.
"I thought all of the back line, goalkeeper included had to work hard to keep that clean sheet on Tuesday. They (Southend) were still a threat at times when they got it wide and there was the threat of Assombalonga, who I was really impressed with with his pace, and we still had to defend properly when the ball came into our box. We slipped up a couple of times in the Northampton game and one or two other times but apart from that we have been a lot more solid in recent games so that is the basis for any successful team."
Games against Morecambe have quite often been laden with goals particularly since the two sides renewed their rivalry in the Football League. In fact there were nine goals shared across the two games last season but Gary insists he will more than settle for a similar result to Tuesday at the weekend.
"We will always search for and take a similar sort of result away from home. It is important that you don't go away from home and be too open because a home side will always try and exploit that. Last time we met in the game at Burton it was 3-2 and it was far too open a game for my liking. They are not the type of games I like because you don't feel like you have control over it. I want us to try and use our system and assert some sort of control over the game."
Morecambe picked up their first home win since March in the week when they beat Chesterfield 2-0 and Gary acknowledges that his side will have to perform well to get a result at the Globe.
"It is going to be difficult on Saturday because they won their first home game for a while on Tuesday night but their form away from home has been excellent. It is going to be another tough trip for us. Another long trip so we have got to make sure we get the players up there fresh and focused and that we put on another performance."
"One thing we know is that Morecambe will do certain things. Jim (Bentley) has done a terrific job there. He has been at the club for quite a while now and he has obviously tried to implement his own style on the team. I have got a lot of time for Jim, he is a really nice guy and I have always had good chats with him. We know that his team will be a passionate team, a hard working team and they will try and move the ball around quickly so it is going to be a case of whether we can cope with that again and impose our ability on the game. We have got good players and it is important that we do that if we are going to win the game."
The Brewers boss is still sweating on the fitness of striker Calvin Zola ahead of the game. Albion's leading scorer missed the game at Roots Hall through the hamstring injury picked up against Northampton but Gary would not rule his leading striker either in or out of Saturday's game.
"Calvin is still feeling the hamstring. We don't think it is damage to the muscle so that is very important. We will continue to monitor him and we haven't ruled him out for Saturday just yet. Obviously he would have to pick up a bit and he would need to train tomorrow (Friday) in order to be involved. At the moment he isn't definitely out but we will continue to assess the situation ahead of the weekend."