GARY Rowett says the season starts now for Burton Albion as they look to close in on a top-seven finish in League Two.
The Brewers exited the FA Cup with a 4-1 defeat at Bournemouth on Tuesday night and now have 21 league games left in the race for promotion.
Albion are unbeaten in nine League Two matches and are second in the table – and tomorrow they will try to add to that away to Bury, kick-off 3pm.
“Our season almost starts now, if you like,” said Brewers boss Rowett ahead of the trip to Greater Manchester. “We’ve got 21 games to see if we can crack on and continue our progress.
“I spoke to the lads before training yesterday and told them we’d had a really good time in the cups.
“In the first half of the season we’ve had some great games to play in – and they’re great occasions – but that’s done now.
“It’s imperative we draw a line under it.
“It’s disappointing because we would all have loved to play Liverpool in the fourth round.
“But now we have one thing to aim for.
“We’ve really got to throw ourselves into it – we’ve got to start again and go for it.”
Although Tuesday was a disappointment, Bournemouth are a decent Championship side – and possibly a harder outfit to face than Premier League Fulham, whom Albion lost to on penalties after a 2-2 draw in the League Cup second round.
“We were beaten by a better team,” said Rowett. “You could argue they were harder to play than Fulham were in the League Cup.
“But we aren’t going to dwell on it and we won’t let it affect us.
“We’ve got to kick on and that starts at Bury tomorrow.”
The only absentees tomorrow will be striker Michael Symes (knee) and centre-half Shane Cansdell-Sherriff (fractured cheekbone).
Cansdell-Sherriff, though, is only expected to be out for another couple of weeks after he suffered the injury against Mansfield Town on New Year’s Day.
Robbie Weir could come back in after he was rested on Tuesday night, while loan signing Zeli Ismail could make a full debut after his sparkling appearance as a substitute in the 2-1 win over Cheltenham last week.
Burton Albion Independent Supporters Club are running a coach to tomorrow’s game, leaving the Beacon Hotel, Tutbury Road, at 11.30am.
Subsidised seats priced £6 each are available by calling John on 07826 230365.