GARY Rowett says there is never a good time to play a relegation-threatened team as his Burton Albion side prepares to visit struggling Northampton Town.
The Brewers visit Sixfields today, kick-off 3.07pm, for another crucial match in their attempt to win automatic promotion from League Two.
The Cobblers are without on-loan Albion defender Zander Diamond and midfield leader Darren Carter, the former under the terms of his deal and the latter through suspension.
But Rowett says whoever comes in will be just as determined to help Chris Wilder’s side avoid the Football League trapdoor.
“There’s never a good time to play a team fighting for their lives,” he said. “I know for a fact that a Chris Wilder team is never going to give you an easy game.
“They’re going to be determined to make Saturday their day to get three points and get out of trouble.
“They did really well when Chris came in and got a good result last weekend.
“It’s going to be tough and they still have some excellent players, with someone like Chris Hackett one of the best wide players in League Two.”
Northampton, losing play-off finalists last season, have found life much tougher this time around.
They have won just 10 games and are second from bottom with 43 points from 41 games.
And it is almost a year to the day since Albion could only draw 3-3 with struggling Accrington, a result which proved pivotal as they missed out on automatic promotion by just two points.
Rowett says it is important the Brewers try to start the game well.
“We’ve got to start with real energy and force them back,” he said. “Every team down there is going to come out and try to put you under pressure.
“If you play into their hands and give them something early, a shot even, then the crowd lifts a little bit.
“We’ve got to use our collective strength and consistency to do what we’ve done in so many away games this season.
“Last season at this stage we drew with Accy and then lost 7-1 at Port Vale - we had to bounce back from some extreme results.
“This year is a lot more consistent. It’s much better in one way because you know what you’re going to get.”
TODAY’S game has a slightly later kick-off than usual as a mark of respect to those who lost their lives as a result of the Hillsborough disaster in April, 1989.
All Premier League, Football League, Conference and some lower non-league matches will kick off at 3.07pm.
The FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest on April 15, 1989, was ended six minutes after kick-off, at 3.06pm.