BURTON Albion could be without SIX first choice players as they visit Southend tomorrow for the second leg of the play-off semi-finals.
Adam McGurk, Zeli Ismail and Shane Cansdell-Sherriff are racing against time to be fit for the clash at Roots Hall, kick-off noon.
With Ian Sharps suspended after being unjustly sent off in the 1-0 first leg win, and Damien McCrory and Jimmy Phillips out until next season, boss Gary Rowett has his work cut out.
“We’re certainly going to have to patch up a bit and go down there and be as competitive as we can,” he said.
“You start to get past the fact there’s no Sharps, no Cansdell-Sherriff, no McCrory, no Phillips and Zeli’s obviously touch and go for being anywhere near fit.
“Suddenly, you take five or six of your best players out the team and you’ve got to work very hard to get a competitive side.
“But we’ve done that all season and we’ve done that brilliantly.”
Cansdell-Sherriff (Achilles) has not trained all week and nor has first leg goalscorer McGurk (groin).
“It could again be that we’ve got to make three or four changes, but ultimately I don’t see that necessarily as a negative,” said Rowett.
“If you’re a player in the squad, you’re absolutely dying for a chance to play in a game that could be this big.
“Let’s face it, in some ways if you’re coming into the side you’ll be even more motivated than someone staying in it.
“That drive and desire is always going to be in the team, regardless of who plays.”
Rowett is refusing to ‘park the bus’ as the saying goes.
He will instead insist on his side attacking as they look to go one better than last season, when they lost 5-4 on aggregate to Bradford at the semi-final stage after leading 2-0 and 3-1 in the first leg.
“I don’t think we’re in a position where we can just go there and park the bus, if you like,” he said.
“We’ve got to show some ambition and after last season, in my mind if we had that opportunity again, perhaps we’d try to be more on the front foot and do what we’re good at.
“We’ve drawn first blood, but we’ve got to make sure we finish the job – but nothing’s done, absolutely nothing’s done yet.”