Boss challenges players ahead of Southend
Burton Albion manager Gary Rowett has challenged his players to end the regular season on a high at Southend United this Saturday.
The Brewers were beaten 2-0 by Chesterfield last time out, and Rowett wants to see an improved performance ahead of the play-offs.
“The issue wasn’t the fact that we’d lost the game, it was that we played so poorly and never stood a chance in the game due to our lack of control. I had a go at the players quite openly after the game because if we want to achieve anything this season then we’re going to have to have better standards, and we can’t just flick it on when we want to.
“We’ve had a really good week’s training and after a poor game you re-focus, and the game has helped in a sense that we’ve re-focused at the right time. I'm sure the players will be ready for this weekend, and we need to remember that the play-offs are not won or lost this weekend. It gives us a chance to have a look at one or two or maybe rest one or two, so there are lots of benefits to the game,” said Rowett.
With two important games ahead, Rowett wants his players to put themselves forward for a place in the team, and say there are openings for players who perform well.
“I’d be wanting to play as well as I could so I’d be undroppable. One or two are on the fringes and they may be able to do enough on Saturday to be involved in the play-offs. The likes of Marcus Harness is excellent every day in training and you might worry about whether the play-off games are too big to throw him in, but he may well have an opportunity on Saturday to show me what he’s got. If he’s outstanding then he gives himself a chance, and that’s all you can say to the players.
“We all know most of the players that are going to be involved, but I’m talking about the three or four on the fringes of starting, and that’s up for grabs over the next week or two,” he said.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s Southend trip, Rowett admits that he may leave out some players ahead of the play-offs, but he still wants to go out and win the game.
“I wouldn’t say this weekend is irrelevant, but if we win the game 2-0 or lose 2-0, it won’t have a lot of bearing on the play-off games. Some managers will want to be confident after picking up wins, and others will want to protect the players we’ve got, and we’ll be a combination of both.
“We want to put a competitive team out, but I’ve got two or three players that I can’t afford to lose for the play-offs and I’ll have a decision to make on whether I start them.”