GARY Rowett believes Burton Albion have what it takes to win automatic promotion from League Two this season.
The Brewers fell agonisingly short last year, finishing two points off the top three before going out to Bradford in the play-offs.
But this time around, Rowett reckons his outfit is capable of much more.
“This season I don’t think the play-offs will be the same achievement to us as a group,” said the Albion boss. “I believe we’re capable of more than that.
“Last season, in truth, when you look back there was a bit of relief knowing we had got in the play-offs as a minimum.
“In my first season in charge to have reduced the wage budget and then to get a team into the play-offs is an achievement for everyone.
“We’re now going to push as hard as we can for those top-three places.
“This season I want a bit more in terms of what we want to achieve.”
However, should Albion finish between fourth and seventh, their manager would still be pleased with an excellent second season in charge.
“If you tell me on May 3 that we’re in the play-offs, maybe I won’t be too disappointed,” said Rowett.
“But at this moment in time, we think we’re capable and have enough ability in the squad to make the top three.
“I’m sure, though, there are eight or nine sides saying exactly the same thing.”
The Brewers face Dagenham & Redbridge at the Pirelli Stadium tomorrow, kick-off 3pm.
It is their last home game before three away fixtures in a week - at Rochdale on Tuesday, Bristol Rovers a week today and Torquay a week on Tuesday.
It also comes seven days on from a gritty 1-0 win at Morecambe.
The game could be labelled a ‘must-win’, especially if Burton are the reach the top three, but Rowett sees it differently.
“When we’ve won the last game away from home and then come into a home game before a run of away games, then it could look very important,” he said.
“No game at this stage of the season is a must-win, but it would be great if we could follow an away performance of that quality with a home win.
“That would set us up fantastically well for the run of away games, but one game isn’t going to affect our whole season at this point.
“What’s important is if we can build on that and make it the start of a run.”
Dagenham, though, will be a tough proposition - as they showed with a recent draw at Chesterfield and a win at Rochdale.
“Dagenham are going to be very difficult opponents,” said Rowett. “I think they might actually favour being away from home as they’ve got pace to play on the counter.
“If you look at some of their recent away games, they won at Rochdale and drew at Chesterfield.
“Their results against the top teams have been good and we’ve got to mindful of that and give them due respect.
“(Manager) Wayne Burnett and (assistant manager) Darren Currie have done a very, very good job with a budget which isn’t the highest in the league.
“They’ve put their own stamp on what they try to do.
“They’ve got some good players there this season.”
Michael Symes (knee) is the only absentee for Burton, but is expected back in full training on Monday.