ROBBIE Weir says Burton Albion need to start turning it on against the weaker teams in League Two if they want to earn promotion to the third tier this season.
The Brewers can secure a place in the play-offs with victory over Hartlepool United tomorrow, but need to improve their record against teams at the bottom end of the table.
They have lost to Bristol Rovers, Morecambe and Northampton Town so far this season, and must avoid a slip-up against a Pools side currently 18th.
“It seems to have happened a few times for us against the sides lower in the league,” said Weir.
“We have Chesterfield coming up soon and no doubt we will go out and play really well in that one.
“But I think it is just the nature of football and games like the one against Northampton (a 1-0 defeat last weekend) can happen.
“But if we really want to be going for automatic promotion then we have to be winning games like that.
“All we can do is play well and we know that was unacceptable.
“But who knows, we could win the next four games and the teams above us can still drop points so we have to stay in and around there and make sure we are winning games.”
After starting 32 league games in a row, Weir missed out on the starting line-up two games in a row after picking up a hamstring injury.
He returned against Northampton and says he feels fresher for the break.
“I had a hamstring injury, but I think that little break has done me the world of good,” he said.
“I feel hungrier for it and if it comes to the play-offs then I feel really ready for it.
“This little break for me might turn out to be for the best as it has got me that little bit fresher for the games coming up.”
Manager Gary Rowett said the Cobblers defeat was probably the most disappointing performance of the season so far.
“I would have to agree with the manager” said the hard-working Northern Irish midfielder. “We just didn’t get going.
“We always knew that they were going to be fighting and starting brightly because they are fighting against relegation, but we have to stand up and take it on the chin.
“We expected to come down here and start well ourselves, but it didn’t happen so we have to move on quickly to the next game.”
Whether Albion sneak into the top three or face a second successive play-off campaign, Weir says there is plenty to be proud of from the 2013/14 season, though he knows the end-of-season shake-up will not be easy.
“It is a real credit to everyone at the club to make the play-offs two years in a run, if we achieve that,” he said.
“But it is always a gamble, it’s about whoever turns up on the day.
“Nobody wants to lose in the play-offs, particularly in the semi-finals.
“So we need to get back to what we do best, go and beat Hartlepool and then we have another game quickly on the Monday away at Newport to get us ready for the end of the season, and from there who knows.”