BURTON Albion were fired up to reach Wembley by being written off in one or two quarters – but not by negative comments made by Southend manager Phil Brown.
The Brewers got to the League Two play-off final after they drew 2-2 with Southend on Saturday.
They will take on Fleetwood on Monday in what will be the sides’ seventh meeting in two years.
Brown, a former Derby manager, seemed to write Albion off in his programme notes at the weekend, telling fans of the Seasiders to get ready for their day out at Wembley.
He said: “Stay calm, but excited, stay focused, but lose it at times. But above all keep believing...today is our day, nobody else’s, and we will see you all at Wembley next week.”
Rowett, though, did not see the programme before kick-off, so could not relay anything to his players.
But his play-off heroes were already wound up enough after the bookies and a few League Two commentators had as good as written them off.
“I think you get fired up from one or two comments you read in the press, you get fired up by the fact we were still odds-on to not get through this tie,” said the manager after Albion reached Wembley following a performance bristling with pride and desire.
“In one of the betting odds, we weren’t even in the four to get to Wembley! There were only three teams which could get promoted.
“That’s slightly ridiculous, but it’s been a season of trying to buck the trends and trying to use that adversity to create something special.
“We’ve got a long way to go, but it’s a really, really good start.”
Rowett was not bothered by Brown’s comments - saying that gamesmanship is part of the game at every level.
“Every manager uses a bit of gamesmanship, and you’ve got to do that,” he said.
“I worked under Phil at Derby and I’ve got massive respect for him and would’ve loved to see him get to Wembley if they weren’t playing us.”