GARY Rowett says Burton Albion can be proud of what they have achieved this season after they sealed a League Two play-off spot for the second season running.
The Brewers guaranteed their place in the top seven with yesterday’s 1-1 draw at Newport County.
Missing out on a win also meant their chance of getting automatic promotion is effectively over as the gap to the top three reached six points with two to play, with Albion’s inferior goal difference making it almost impossible to bridge the gap.
But Rowett is proud of his players for what they have done in 2013/14.
“If we’ve fallen slightly short, we can still be really, really proud,” he said.
“Northampton would probably have targeted automatic promotion after last season and I’m sure Cheltenham would’ve done too.
“I’m sure Fleetwood will have gone for automatic promotion and lots of other teams too.
“Because we’ve showed ambition at the start of the season after last season’s performance and last season’s great season doesn’t mean we should’ve got promoted automatically, all it means is that we’re an ambitious lot.
“There’s a bunch of winners in there and that’s what we want to achieve.”
There was a tinge of disappointment as fine lines across 44 games so far left the Brewers a few points short of reaching the top three.
But to be challenging with three matches left was an achievement – and Rowett says his players are in a better position this season with their new, tougher exterior and streetwise nature.
“I’m disappointed in a sense that we haven’t been able to take that extra step straight away but our focus will turn to the play-offs and I think our experience from last season will hold us in good stead,” he said.
“We’re certainly a lot harder to play against and we’ve made fewer mistakes so far this season than we did do last year.
“You look at the positives and we look forward to those games.”
Michael Symes’ penalty at Rodney Parade levelled an early opener from Andy Sandell following Dean Lyness’ mistake.
It was pretty even encounter, with Newport dominating the early stages of both halves before Burton came back into it more.
“I thought it was going to be hard to get a point here,” said Rowett.
“It was never going to be an easy game to play in and after a poor start we found ourselves 1-0 down.
“But we settled down a bit after then.
“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to nick the win which would’ve been a touch unfair on Newport.
“They’re a big, tough physical side and it was a committed performance from them.”