GARY Rowett has warned his Burton Albion players they will need to show him their desire to be involved in the play-offs.
The Brewers boss was very disappointed with the performance of his side in Sunday’s 2-0 home defeat to Chesterfield.
Albion, already assured of a place in League Two’s top seven, were flat from the first whistle and will need to improve considerably ahead of the play-offs if they want to progress.
“That was a performance to me that didn’t stink of ‘I want to play in the play-offs’,” said Rowett, who has challenged his players to show him a reaction.
“They’ve got to do more over the next two weeks.
“I’m certainly not going to pick people unless they perform well and look sharp – and certainly look a lot more athletic than that today.
“Whether players are worried about getting injured, or worried about whatever – if I was in the team I’d be worried I might not get selected for the play-offs because we didn’t look anywhere near fit enough, or good enough on the ball.”
While Rowett was left shaking his head at a poor performance against a side who sealed automatic promotion on the day, he hopes it might be the catalyst for a response from his men.
“That might be a good result for us in some ways,” he said. “We’ve had it during the season where once or twice we’ve lost games and it’s sparked us into doing a bit more.
“I think we’ve got to use that today.
“We’ve got to look at the quality Chesterfield have showed and also look at the little bit of class they showed in the likes of Gary Roberts and see if we can get that into our teams.”
Sunday’s defeat was a far cry from when Albion surprised Chesterfield - and many League Two observers - with a terrific performance to beat the Spireites 2-0 on their own patch on October 19.
Adam McGurk netted twice in probably the Brewers’ finest performance of the season.
“If you look at the game away from home it was full of quality and full of pace, full of athleticism - and today was none of that,” said Rowett.
“I think we miss the likes of Adam because he gives you that little link between midfield and attack and he just gives you that little bit of creative spark.
“But if you play Billy (Kee) and Gaz (Alexander) up there, as we saw against Hartlepool, if you get it in and they hold the ball up well, then it gives us a chance to attack.
“We didn’t do that at all we, therefore what else are you going to do?
“That’s something we’ve got to look at, but we’ve got the players we’ve got.”