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Rowett: Brewers ready for Daggers test

14 February 2014

Brewers boss previews Saturday's game against Dagenham & Redbridge

Dagenham & Redbridge arrive at the Pirelli Stadium tomorrow looking to push their own claims for a place in the Skybet League 2 play-offs but Burton Albion boss Gary Rowett was keen to take the positives from the Brewers 1-0 victory at Morecambe last week that earned a seventh away win of the campaign and give his side the platform to hopefully record back to back wins and push his own side closer to the automatic promotion places.

"Last week at Morecambe was never going to be an easy game irrespective of our current away form and I thought we navigated the game and the conditions really well" Gary told www.burtonalbionfc.co.uk. "Granted we only scored one goal for all of our good play but we kept a clean sheet and got a good result. I was really pleased with lots of aspects of the game but what that does now, and we seem to say it every week, is it sets us up for another home game where we have to look to try and capitalise and see if we can make it six points from two games which would set us up nicely for the next little run of away games. We know this game will be difficult we take a lot of positivity into it."

Albion have seven home games and ten away games left in their League 2 campaign but Gary acknowledges that improved away form this season has, to a degree, taken the pressure off winning every game at the Pirelli which boasted the best home record in the entire Football League last season.

"Last season it almost became imperative that we won our home games because we didnt seem to be able to win away from home. The difference this season is that our away form is a lot better and we are more capable of picking up points on the road so home games are not necessarily must win. Our home form hasn't been quite as good as last season but our league position isn't much different to last season. What I would say now though is that with only seventeen games to go we really need to start and win the home games to push up the league. We haven't got many home games left so we need to be strong here at the Pirelli and continue to pick up results away which should be a really good blend."

Games between the Brewers and the Daggers have traditionally been close affairs with the East London side edging things overall and coming out winners in the return fixture at Victoria Road earlier in the season. The Brewers boss also sees similarities between the job being done by the Daggers management team as that achieved by the Brewers last season.

"I think Wayne Burnett and Darren Currie have done a great job down at Dagenham. Wayne is a really nice guy and I think he is doing something similar to what we did last year - putting an unfancied team right up there and you have to say that is really good management. We know it will be a difficult game against them and they have had some terrific away results in recent weeks. They have beaten Rochdale and drawn at Scunthorpe and Chesterfield so they certainly wont be fearful of coming here. We just have to make sure that we play as well as we can and do what we do when we get good results. I think we have lost only one out of the last eight at home so our record is pretty good. It would be nice if we could get an early goal as we don't seem to have scored in the first half for a while so a good start to the game could be very important."

With the inclement weather conditions over the last few days causing disruption nationwide Rowett is keen to take advantage of the fact that the Brewers have not suffered any problems with the excellent training facilities at St Georges Park.

"A lot of teams will be bemoaning the fact that they havent been able to train properly for the last couple of weeks or so due to the conditions but we cant use that as an excuse." Gary explained. "In terms of our intensity and our work rate then we have been able to train every day that we have wanted to train and on excellent surfaces as well so it could be an advantage to us. It will only work in our favour though if we go on and win the game. Our preparation for the game certainly hasnt been affected by the weather though as it will be for some teams this weekend."

Whilst Brewers fans have already seen deadline day signing Gary Alexander in action both on the road and at the Pirelli Stadium, fellow new signing David Gray has yet to take his bow in a Brewers shirt but Gary revealed that his other new signing should be in the squad tomorrow.

David will be in the matchday squad. He would have been involved last week but he was taken ill in the build up to the game and had to pull out on the Friday night with a sickness bug. David understands that he might have to be a little bit patient to get into the team. What he has shown me already is that he is a real quality player and I believe that he will be a fantastic acquisition for us and he is a League One quality player so I dont think it will be too long before we see him out on the pitch and he will certainly push Phil Edwards for the right back slot."

Rowett also successfully managed to extend the loan spell of Wolves winger Zeli Ismail until the end of the season and now feels the youngster can push on and exert his talent and influence on the remaining games in the season.

"Zeli has done fantastic for us and he is a really exciting prospect" enthused the Brewers boss, "There was a part of me that when he signed that wondered whether he would fit in, in the sense that why can't he get in the Wolves team with the amount of ability that he has? I have to say that his attitude has been absolutely spot on. He has been a fantastic influence in training and come in and been a real part of it. If you are looking for instant impact then he has done it whether he has started the game or come off the bench. What is important now is when he starts games is to produce the level of quality that we know he has for a full ninety minutes."

There should be a great atmosphere inside the Pirelli stadium tomorrow as the East Stand is taken over by players and families from the Burton Junior Football League and Gary is hoping that the team reap the rewards of what should be a bumper crowd.

"It promises to be a really exciting day for us and the players will hopefully benefit from it. There should be something like 1,500 extra fans in there and I think it is really brilliant. I think that Andy Taylor and the chairman have really pushed hard for this and hopefully we can reap the benefits. I am a real advocate of doing things to boost the crowd and the atmosphere because I think it helps and hopefully the fans can bounce off one another with both ends of the ground full and singing in full voice helping us to get a positive result."

Updates on the game will be available on Brewers Player and via social media throughout the afternoon.

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