Gaffer reflects on Southend and looks forward to play-offsBurton Albion manager Gary Rowett was not too disappointed after a 1-0 defeat to fellow promotion contenders Southend United as he turned his focus towards the end of season play-offs where Albion will now contest a two legged semi-final with the Shrimpers with Albion having home advantage in the first leg next Sunday lunchtime. A Barry Corr header half way through the first half was enough to seperate the two sides with Rowett disappointed to concede the goal but preferring to turn his attention to the games ahead.
"It was a poor goal for us to concede today and I thought we needed to put a bit more pressure on the ball in wide areas" said Gary, "but first and foremost I think that after forty six games this season we can look at it now and say that it is a very good season for us. We have worked very hard and we have had to use more players than we would have liked to in the last seven or eight games but that comes down to the number of injuries we have had to be honest. What is important today is that there wasnt that much in the game and that was Southend's strongest side. We know that we will be much stronger for the play-offs in terms of players that will be available so I am not too disappointed with coming away to Southend and restricting them to just a few real efforts over the whole game."
"I have just congratulated the team on the last forty six games and told them that we now have two huge games that will be different to any games we have played this season and we should look forward to those."
Having made five changes to his starting line-up Rowett admitted that there was much thought went into his selection as he tried to learn more about his own side but also his play-off opponents.
"There were one or two things we did today to learn things about them. That was why I did it. To see what we will need when we come here again, away from home and what we can do and what we might not be able to do and I think we learned a little bit of both and that has perhaps made my team selection a little bit clearer."
Rowett has shuffled his squad over recent weeks, partly dictated by injuries but the boss feels that giving everyone game time has given him food for thought and also kept his squad in better condition ahead of the play-offs.
"If you had asked me a month or so ago then I think my team selection going forward would have been easy but now Damien and Jimmy are out for the season and there is a possibility that Shane wont be fit until next season so we have had to adjust and reassess things. I am sure if you took Barry Corr and a couple of others out of the Southend side then they wouldnt be quite the same side. First and foremost that is why we have had to change things around over the last half dozen games or so, to make sure we get everyone through fit enough and willing enough to be ready for these play-off games. I know it is slightly frustrating for some of the fans who want to see us going into the play-offs but the play-offs are one off games and we have to deal with the injuries we have had and we will definitely have players back for next weekend. There were players I couldn't risk today but we will make changes next week and we will be stronger."
Rowett admitted, both before and after the game, that finishing sixth and playing the first leg of the play-offs at home was his own personal preference.
"If you had asked us to pick then we would have said that we wanted that" admitted Rowett, "I would never be arrogant enough to pick which side I would rather play because they are all good sides in those play-off places but we would prefer to be at home first and away second. We were happy keeping things tight here and being at home next weekend. Now we have to make sure we are as positive as we can be. We have been preparing physically for the play-offs for the last couple of weeks and now we have to be ready to go for it."