GARY Rowett is looking for Burton Albion to end 2012 on a high — by continuing their impressive home form.
The Brewers boss is keen to extend a Pirelli Stadium record of only two defeats when his side play host to fellow League Two promotion hopefuls Southend United tomorrow, kick-off 3pm.
Albion go into the game in good heart after a Billy Kee double and a Calvin Zola strike helped them to a 3-2 Boxing Day win at home to Rochdale that went some way to making amends for defeat by the same margin at Barnet on Friday.
The Shrimpers currently top the division’s form table after stringing together a 14-game unbeaten run in all competitions.
Paul Sturrock’s side have not been beaten since October and have moved to within two points of an automatic promotion spot after languishing in the bottom half of the table.
But Rowett takes comfort from the fact that his men boast a better home record than top pair Gillingham and Port Vale.
The Brewers boss said: “We know we need to pick up more points away from home and it was really disappointing that we missed the opportunity at Barnet to improve our record.
“But what we have proved this season is that we’re more than a match for anyone when we’re playing at home.
“It doesn’t really matter who comes to us if we perform as well as we know we can.
“We’ve got a home record that’s one of best in League Two with only two defeats — and I think that’s a great achievement.
“What we’ve got to focus on now is to keep it going against the likes of Southend to make sure we don’t waste all the hard work that has gone into the first half of the season.”
Rowett praised his men after they recorded their seventh home success of the season after squandering a 2-0 lead against Rochdale on Tuesday.
“We showed a lot of character to fight back after we gifted them an equaliser — the second time we’ve done that in successive games,” said Rowett.
“Everyone dug in and was fully committed and we got our reward for that.
“It was a good performance overall. We played some excellent stuff and took more care on the ball than we have been doing.
“We do have a habit of making it hard for ourselves but we got there in the end, and if you look at the performance it was one of the best we’ve had this season.
“We didn’t go long so often - and when we had to we hit the strikers’ feet.
“We played with a lot more control and what pleased me was the way we created some really good opportunities.”
Southend go into the game four points and four places better off than the Brewers and will be keen to avenge a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Rowett’s men at Roots Hall on October 2.
The Brewers boss said: “Southend have improved since we last played them and have probably put together the best run we’ve seen in this division all season.
“Paul Sturrock teams always play with a keen edge and they’ve got goals in them, but I would like to think we can also give them something to think about.”
Defender Marcus Holness missed the Boxing Day game because of a groin strain but Rowett reported no new injury problems and is expected the name an unchanged starting line-up.
ALBION Independent Supporters Association have a limited number of seats available on their coach for the New Year’s Day game at York City, departing from the Beacon Hotel in Tutbury Road, Burton, at 11.15am.
The supporters group are laying on free coaches for the FA Cup third round tie at Leicester City on January 5, leaving the Beacon at 12.30pm.
Seats for both trips can be booked by telephoning 07826 230365.