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Burton Albion boss Gary Rowett aims for promotion and hopes it is third time lucky

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 08, 2014

By Tom Sloan

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GARY Rowett has again set the bar high for his Burton Albion side as he targets promotion from League Two.

The Brewers boss saw his team fall at the final hurdle in May as they lost the play-off final 1-0 to Fleetwood Town.

It came 12 months after the gut-wrenching play-off defeat to Bradford City.

Now, Rowett wants his players to go one better and finish the job.

"My aim and my ambition for the team – and the team's ambition – is certainly to win promotion," said the manager, who is in only his third full season in charge.

"It can be nothing else other than that.

"The last two seasons we fell short of our ambition but got in the play-offs, which was fantastic.

"If I said we want to improve on last season, the obvious answer is to win promotion, because that's the only way to improve.

"That's our ambition and what we'll aim for. Whether we will get that, I don't know.

"But that's our aim and everything we've worked towards over the summer."

Albion start at Oxford United tomorrow, kick-off 3pm, and Rowett is looking forward to getting the campaign under way after his summer of rebuilding the squad.

There are likely to be debuts for goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin, midfielder John Mousinho, winger Lucas Akins and striker Stuart Beavon, if he recovers from a slight thigh strain.

There could also be a debut for George Taft if he wins the battle for the left-back slot with Callum McFadzean, who has again joined Albion on loan from Sheffield United.

"I'm very happy with things," said Rowett. "I think pre-season is exactly that.

"You try to glean what the players have learnt and you try to get them to implement your plans.

"And of course you want them all as fit as possible and as available as possible for the first game of the season.

"You can only get an inkling about how the season's going to go, but I'm very pleased and I've got a good feel about how things have progressed over the last few weeks."

The only absentees tomorrow will be winger Jimmy Phillips, who is recovering from a torn knee ligament, left-back Damien McCrory, who will be missing for another month as he comes back from an operation on his knee and midfielder Lee Bell, who has not played in pre-season with a knee problem of his own.

Striker Billy Kee will be in the squad but is a few weeks behind the rest of the players after he had to rest a knee injury he sustained when he hit an advertising board at Southend in the second leg of the play-off semi-final.

"I think Billy's a couple of weeks behind where everyone else is, fitness wise, but he's worked very hard to bridge that gap as quickly as he can," said Rowett.

"I think it's a real testament to him that he's even close to my thinking when he's missed three to four weeks of pre-season."

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