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Burton Albion will be spurred on by chance of sealing play-off spot: Gary Rowett

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 18, 2014

Northampton vs Burton - Burton Manager Gary Rowett - Photo By James Williamson

Northampton vs Burton - Burton Manager Gary Rowett - Photo By James Williamson

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GARY Rowett says the chance of sealing a play-off place will spur his Burton Albion side on against Hartlepool tomorrow.

The Brewers will be guaranteed a top seven finish in League Two if they win at the Pirelli Stadium, kick-off 3pm, and York lose at play-off rivals Oxford.

Rowett would like to get a play-off place in the bag as soon as possible to take any pressure off ahead of the final two fixtures, tough games against promotion rivals Chesterfield and Southend.

“We want to get that out of the way as quickly as we can,” said the Albion boss, whose side completes their Easter fixtures at Newport on Monday. “If we can do that we can go into the last few games with less pressure.

“If we win, we can keep pressure on Chesterfield for third spot, too.

“We wouldn’t want to be going into Chesterfield and Southend needing to win one of those to get in the play-offs.

“If we have to, then we have to – but I’d rather it was done sooner.

“It’s a huge motivation.”

The Brewers are also looking for a performance more like the first half against Plymouth two weeks ago than the one which resulted in a 1-0 defeat at troubled Northampton last weekend.

It seriously damaged their chances of automatic promotion as they slipped six points off third with four to play.

“It’s important we put in a good performance,” said Rowett. “And it’s more important that we put in a winning performance.

“That’s the first thing.”

Albion will be without left-back Damien McCrory, who misses the rest of the season with a knee injury, and goalkeeper Rob Lainton, who hurt his hand in the Northampton defeat.

Dean Lyness is expected to play in goal, with Bermudan international Freddy Hall on the bench.

Callum McFadzean, Shane Cansdell-Sherriff and Phil Edwards are all options to replace McCrory, who has made the left-back spot his own in the last two seasons.

“Callum’s played quite a lot there for Sheffield United,” said the manager of his loan signing from the Blades. “He’s quite capable of moving there.

“I think he’s showed he’s a good footballer - anyone who’s a good footballer and quite athletic can usually play in one or two positions.”

Gary Alexander should also be fit enough to start after an ankle knock meant he could only make the bench against Northampton.

The 34-year-old target man played a pivotal role as the Brewers outplayed Plymouth in the first half at the Pirelli on April 5, and the way he teamed up with Billy Kee was highly impressive.

“I just felt away from home, with his ankle not quite right, we wanted a bit more mobility up there,” said Rowett. “He’ll come back into contention for this week.

“In the last home game I thought him and Billy were very good for 60 minutes up there.

“We’ll be looking to replicate that in a similar way.

“There are a lot of players champing at the bit - Michael Symes for one is desperate for a chance.”

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