GARY Rowett does not want to be happy with “just” getting a play-off place for Burton Albion this season – he wants more.
The Brewers sealed their spot in the top seven with Monday’s 1-1 draw at Newport County.
Other results mean they can no longer reach the top three, barring a minor miracle which would see them win their remaining games and either of Rochdale or Chesterfield implode on the finish line.
It is the second season running Albion will be involved in the play-offs – and Rowett does not want a repeat of last season, when Bradford beat his men 5-4 on aggregate before winning the final and going up to League One.
“What I don’t want this season to become – and it’s slightly different to last year – is to just be happy with the play-offs,” said the manager.
“Maybe last year there was a bit of euphoria about getting into the play-offs and it was almost enough in some ways –and I don’t think this year it’s enough.
“We’ve been there now, it’s our second season, which is great, and we need to see if we can take that extra step, which is getting through the first two legs.
“We’ll see from there.
“But we’re a long way from that and we’ve got a lot to focus on before that.”
Burton face Chesterfield on Sunday before their final game of the season away to Southend a week on Saturday.
They will decide where they finish, and who they play in the play-offs.
Last season, they certainly got the short straw as they finished fourth and faced off with Bradford, who would surely have won automatic promotion were it not for the distraction of reaching Wembley in the League Cup final.
As it was, Albion surprised everyone by flying into a 3-0 lead at Valley Parade before they conceded twice.
The second leg saw them lose 3-1 at home to a high class side.
This season, Rowett has more confidence going into the lottery of the play-offs, especially as his side are now a more streetwise outfit away from their Pirelli Stadium home.
“It was ironic last year and it shows you what the play-offs are about,” he said. “We probably should’ve come away with a 3-0 lead from Bradford, which no-one would have felt we were going to do, and we then made mistakes at home and got beaten easily.
“So, you can look at it two ways.
“The play-offs throw up all sorts of different things and what you’ve got to do is keep your nerve and keep your head and make sure you don’t change what you do.
“You then see which team deals with the situation the best.
“The fact we’ve been in them before should give us a small advantage.”