GARY Rowett has paid tribute to the unstinting efforts of his backroom team as Burton Albion close in on a place in League Two’s top seven.
The Brewers boss says it has been a team effort from himself, assistant Kev Summerfield, first-team coach Mark Sale and goalkeeper coach Kevin Poole.
“The staff have been brilliant again this season,” said the manager, who is completing his second full season in the hotseat. “I really appreciate what they’ve done.
“We can’t offer them huge financial incentives to be here.
“But what we do is have a really good camaraderie that we all enjoy.
“It’s a real team effort – that’s one of our strengths.
“We have a laugh and a lot of fun along the way – you need to because it’s a long season.”
Albion are fifth in the table and still in with a shout of finishing third and getting promoted automatically.
Rowett says following up last season’s fourth-place finish with another excellent season is down in no small part to the hard work of his staff.
“Certainly it’s a staff I see myself working with for a long time,” he said. “I’ll come out and take credit to a certain degree after games, but what we do in the week is much more than that.”
No2 Summerfield, who was recruited from Tranmere, has taken an even bigger role on the training ground - and Rowett says the experienced coach, who has an impressive track record for winning promotions - is an essential sounding board.
“I didn’t know him that well before he came to the club,” he said.
“I met him at a few games and I realised we had a similar thought process when it came to players and work ethic.
“Originally, when I brought him in I didn’t want someone to be a ‘yes man’ and tell me what I wanted to hear.
“What’s great is that it gives you some really healthy debate.
“We talk things over and there are times when we disagree about things.
“It gives you a different perspective and having another strong opinion is very useful.
“We’ve balanced off really well so far.”
Sale, meanwhile, has also got a more active role on the training ground.
The 42-year-old has proved very popular with the players
“We’ve brought Saley in to do more, really, as a full-time coach,” said Rowett. “Saley is really good with the players.
“He kind of acts as a little bit of a buffer between the players and the rest of the staff.
“The players like, trust and respect him.”
And there is also more to Poole’s job than just coaching the keepers, and occasionally warming the bench - at the age of 50 - when the odd injury crisis strikes.
“If you look at Pooley he does a lot more than just the goalkeeper coaching,” said Rowett.
“He does a lot of the admin and discipline stuff.
“We’ve got a really good blend and we get on so well with each other.
“I really appreciate the fact we’ve blended into a good unit.”