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Burton Albion boss Gary Rowett tells his side to relish big game at Oxford

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 07, 2014

Rochdale v Burton Albion Gary Rowett in deep thought Spotland

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GARY Rowett is relishing tomorrow’s visit to Oxford in a crucial top-of-the-table League Two clash for Burton Albion.

The Brewers boss says there is nothing to fear from such big games and is also refusing to label any game a “must-win” clash in Albion’s drive for promotion.

“These are the games you want to play in – there’s nothing to fear,” said the Brewers boss ahead of tomorrow’s 3pm kick-off at the Kassam Stadium.

“We’re not in a position, though, where we’re expecting to be winning all of them.

“It would be disrespectful and slightly remiss to think that.

“You would say that on the whole we’ve got players who will relish these types of games and won’t be fearful of playing at places like Oxford or Pompey.”

Burton go into the game fourth in the table, with Oxford a point and a place behind them, before Tuesday night’s trip to Portsmouth.

With a dozen games of the season remaining, it will be an intriguing battle between the U’s and the Brewers.

“We’re both in a similar position and a similar situation,” said Rowett. “Whichever team is better on the day will come out on top – and we will look forward to it.

“We’re at the business end of the season.

“It won’t be long until we’re in single figures.

“Every game we’re being judged.

“It’s just the reality of it.

“We’ll just control the things in our grasp - our preparation and our performance.

“If they play better than us, we can’t control it. We also can’t control refereeing decisions.

“There’s no point worrying about the what ifs.

“Let’s go and be as positive as we can be.”

Albion have slight fitness concerns surrounding centre-half Shane Cansdell-Sherriff (hamstring), winger Zeli Ismail (knock) and striker Gary Alexander (knee). All three, however, are expected to be fit.

Phil Edwards, who took a heavy bang on his foot in last week’s 2-1 victory over Accrington, will be fit to take his place at the back.

“Most of the lads are okay,” said Rowett. “We’ll know a bit more later today but I don’t think any of them are too serious.”

Meanwhile, a deal to extend goalkeeper Rob Lainton’s loan has not yet been done - but Rowett would like to keep him at the Pirelli.

“That’s still in the balance,” he said. “We will try to extend it.

“It depends on what Bury want to do and what their situation is.”

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