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Gary Rowett hopes new signings Lucas Akins and Stuart Beavon will inspire Burton Albion forwards

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: July 21, 2014

SWEET AS YOU LIKE ... Alex MacDonald fires home Burton's opening goal against Sheffield United Picture by Neil Barker

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GARY Rowett says Lucas Akins and Stuart Beavon will not only improve Burton Albion's forward options as individuals, but also serve as motivation to the attacking unit as a whole.

Both new signings looked impressive in Saturday's 4-0 win over Sheffield United, with Akins scoring from Beavon's assist and both players being involved in Alex MacDonald's opener.

They add to a strike-force which includes Billy Kee, Adam McGurk and Dominic Knowles – all proven scorers – and Rowett hopes all his goal-getters will be inspired by the new blood.

"I think we've got more flexibility and more athleticism," said the Brewers chief.

"We've got players who are capable of doing a little bit more.

"I think you can see Lucas Akins is a League One player, and I think he can probably play in the Championship from what I've seen so far.

"You look at Stuart Beavon, he's a League One player at least.

"We're very fortunate to have those players, and what you hope is that one or two of the others step up and improve their game accordingly."

After last summer's big signing Rene Howe failed to have the desired impact, Albion often became reliant on Kee and McGurk to get the goals, which they did in spells.

But the greater depth in the forward-line this campaign pleases Rowett.

"It will give us extra options in the forward areas," he said.

"You can see that Lucas can go down the middle, and we had good movement up there with Knowlesy, who looks a little bit sharper and a bit stronger.

"I think by bringing one or two players of that ilk in, it makes the others think 'actually, I'm going to have to do a little bit more this season to get games'.

"And that's great – it creates the competition we want."

Though little should be taken from a pre-season friendly against a team playing their first match of the summer, even if they are a League One side of United's pedigree, Albion were mesmerising at times at the Pirelli, with plenty of movement and invention up front.

Rowett said: "I was really pleased with lots of aspects.

"It's only one game, and it's Sheffield United's first game, so I don't think anyone would read too much into it."

After going 3-0 up by the break through strikes from MacDonald, Akins and Knowles, Albion had to soak up a fightback from a completely different second-half Blades side.

They did so, with goalkeeper Dean Lyness making some good saves and Shane Cansdell-Sherriff clearing a shot off the line, before scoring a fourth late on through trialist Louis Cutajar.

"The lads in the second half did okay," said Rowett.

"When you make a lot of changes, it's always difficult, but it probably worked for Sheffield United in that the second XI came on and knew they had to do a little bit more."

"It was a good exercise for us in being out of possession for quite big periods of the game.

"Against a good side like that, you've got to remain compact, you've got to keep your shape."

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