GARY Rowett has called for a show of determination as Burton Albion attempt to bounce back from their most disappointing display of the season.
The Brewers travel to meet Wycombe Wanderers anxious to avoid defeat at the hands of one League Two’s relegation strugglers for the second time in four days.
Albion’s hopes of climbing into the top three were dashed on Tuesday evening when they went down 1-0 to Aldershot Town at the Pirelli Stadium.
The victory lifted the Shots out of the danger zone — and next-to-bottom Wycombe will be looking for a similar outcome at Adams Park, kick-off 3pm.
Rowett said: “We need to make sure one defeat doesn’t become two and we’re going to need the resolve and determination we’ve shown for most of the season to make sure that doesn’t happen.” The Brewers boss has blamed the “flat performance” against the Shots on a schedule that required his side to play three times in six days.
And he believes the fixture list is continuing to make life difficult for his men.
Rowett said: “Virtually of our games in the first three months were against teams in the top 10 and we were delighted to come out of them in such a good position.
“We’ve moved on to a run of games against teams below us the the table, but it’s not getting any easier because those sides are finding a bit of form.” Albion overcame Dagenham & Redbridge 3-2 at the Pirelli Stadium last weekend thanks to a superb Billy Kee goal just when it seemed Rowett’s tiring side would fade to defeat.
But Aldershot continued their improvement with Tuesday’s win and tomorrow the Brewers face a Wycombe side boosted by a shock 3-2 victory at one-time title favourites Rotherham United.
Rowett said: “I certainly don’t want to make any excuses, but the games aren’t getting any easier.
“Dagenham had lost only one in 11 and Aldershot have now lost only the once in their last seven games.
“It shows that teams who didn’t necessarily start the season very well are stirring into life.
“Wycombe had a great result the other night to show they’re coming into better form, so it’s going to be another tough one for us.” Rowett has tried to rejuvenate his squad with a change in training routine since the Aldershot defeat.
Players normally have a day off after a midweek game, but the Brewers boss took his men to St George’s Park for a sports therapy session on Wednesday.
The Brewers boss said: “The facilities up there are brilliant and I thought the change of scenery and routine would be beneficial after what has been a really difficult couple of weeks.
“The lads then had a day off but we’ll still have a good session on the training pitch leading up to the Wycombe game.” Rowett has not yet decided whether to ring the changes, though he is keen to have top scorer Calvin Zola back in his starting line-up.
Zola (pictured) was rested in midweek as a precaution after he came off against Dagenham with a head injury.
Rowett said: “We still have to monitor Calvin on a daily basis, but he joined us at St George’s Park and hopefully he’ll be fit for the Wycombe game.
“As for any other changes, I think it’ll be case of seeing in training how well people have recovered and taking it from there.” The Brewers boss certainly has plenty of options should he decide he needs to freshen up his side.
Young striker Jacob Blyth joined the club on loan from Leicester City on Tuesday and made a late appearance as a substitute against Aldershot, while Jordan Chapell could be used to inject some pace on the right side of midfield.
Chapell’s loan from Sheffield United was extended this week just as he returned to fitness after an ankle problem.
Club skipper John McGrath is also pushing for a starting role for the first time since he picked up a foot injury in February that resulted in him having to undergo career-saving surgery.
Meanwhile, there is light at the end of tunnel for more of Albion’s casualties.
Long-serving defender Aaron Webster (hamstring) and striker Adi Yussuf (groin) could feature in a reserve team outing against Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park on Tuesday, while winger Jimmy Phillips (broken foot) should soon return to full training.