GARY Rowett says the arrival of Ashley Hemmings on loan and the rapid recovery of Jimmy Phillips from injury has taken some of the pressure off the wide players at Burton Albion.
The Brewers suffered a major blow when Zeli Ismail tore his hamstring in the 1-1 draw with AFC Wimbledon last month.
The 20-year-old on-loan Wolves wide man is expected to be out until the final week of the season – at the earliest.
When Phillips was then hurt in the 1-0 defeat at Scunthorpe, the pressure was on, with only Alex MacDonald fit and available of the club’s wingers.
But the signing of Hemmings on loan from Walsall and Phillips’ faster than expected comeback has made life easier.
And Rowett is refusing to put any pressure on the talented Ismail as he recovers.
“We’ve been in quite close contact with Wolves and we’re hoping Zeli will be back to play some part before the end of the season,” said the Brewers boss.
“But I’m loathe to put any timescale on it at all.
“With that type of injury you have to get it 100 per cent right before any comeback.”
Hemmings’ arrival has injected some pace into the Albion side which has been lacking since Ismail hobbled off against Wimbledon.
Importantly for Rowett, he has also added some competition for places.
“You get to a stage around the transfer deadline where you think ‘what do we need?’,” said Rowett.
“You think what you’d do if this or that happened to somebody.
“What you end up doing is covering yourself and giving yourself options.
“It becomes even more competitive and if a player misses one game through injury they’re fighting to get back in the team.
“That’s what we need.”
THE Anglesey Arms in Stretton is running a coach to the Northampton game a week on Saturday.
It leaves the pub at noon and seats cost £10.
Bookings can be made by calling 07864 679249 or by dropping into the pub.