GARY Rowett hopes the experience in his Burton Albion side will stand them in good stead for tomorrow’s massive trip to Bradford City.
The Brewers have a host of players who have played in big games – with the likes of Ian Sharps and Michael Symes having taken part in huge play-off ties.
Even young Damien McCrory has played in a play-off final and Rowett has his fingers crossed this type of experience gets Albion the result they need at Valley Parade.
“We’ve got a lot of players who have played in games like this before,” he said. “Damo has played in a game like this for Dagenham even though people wouldn’t think it.
“Marcus Holness has been there and there are a lot of people with experience of big games like Sharpsy and Symesy.
“Robbie Weir has played 40-odd games in League One, so a big game in League Two is not going to affect him.”
The Brewers boss is also hoping the big crunch battle can inspire the younger, less experienced players in his squad.
“It’s a terrific opportunity for the youngsters,” he said. “What we hope is we’ve got players who will embrace it and play better as a result of it.
“We won’t know until the day.”
Albion are preparing for a physical battle with their Yorkshire hosts and Rowett has taken account of the style of the Bantams.
But he is refusing to over-hype the game, where Burton, realistically, must match the result of Rotherham United if they are to stay in the race for automatic promotion from League Two.
“We’re ready for the game now,” said the Brewers boss. “We’re just getting the last little bits done.
“We’ve prepared for it like we always do and we’ve prepared to combat that (Bradford’s physical approach).
“You try to replicate what the game will be like in training and try to cut out the element of surprise going into a game, which is what we always try to do.
“We’re prepared defensively, but also in an attacking sense.
“Like always, we’ve got to be careful not to get players over anxious ahead of the game.
“They need the right level of motivation and you want them hyped up, but not over-hyped.
“The lads know the importance of the game - they aren’t stupid.
“We’ll try to keep them focused on the job in hand.
“But we’re treating it the same as any other game - if anything we’ll try to keep them even more relaxed than usual.”
Rowett is hoping that Albion take a big following to Valley Parade to help inspire his men, much as the partisan following at Fleetwood Town did in the thumping 4-0 away victory back in February.
“It’ll be a great game to be part of,” said the Brewers boss. “The fans can play a massive part like they did at Fleetwood.
“It makes a huge difference having a big crowd following you to an away game.
“It’ll be important to see the Burton shirts in among the Bradford crowd in their own little corner.
“That’ll inspire the players - they won’t want to let the fans down.
“The more people who can travel to this game, the better for us.”