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Rowett has tough decisions to make

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 14, 2013

Burton Albion .v. Barnet Gary Rowett / Kevin Poole

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GARY Rowett admits he has some tough decisions to make before Burton Albion take on fellow League Two promotion chasers Fleetwood Town tomorrow.

The Brewers boss could have a fully fit and available squad – minus suspended defender Zander Diamond – when Albion visit Lancashire, kick-off 3pm.

Loan star Ian Sharps will have to dislodge one of Nathan Stanton or Marcus Holness to come back in at centre-half.

Meanwhile, striker Calvin Zola is back to fitness but Michael Symes has made an impressive start in his two games for the club since signing on loan from Leyton Orient.

“First and foremost, it’s a fantastic position to be in,” said Rowett of his selection headache. “We’re fifth and have got a very, very strong squad with players coming back.

“That’s what we wanted and this is what I’m there for – to make tough decisions.

“We’ve got one or two little knocks, so it might be taken out of my hands to an extent.”

Nathan Stanton (knee) could be ruled out after playing through the pain barrier last week, while Aaron Webster has picked up a slight hamstring niggle, so Damien McCrory is likely to make an immediate return at left-back after recovering from an ankle problem.

It will be a difficult task for the Brewers tomorrow due to the form of Fleetwood under new boss Graham Alexander.

The Cod Army have only lost two of their last 11 games and have won three of the last four to go a place above the Brewers.

Striker Jon Parkin is unavailable through injury, but Rowett is well aware of the other guns in the Lancashire side’s armoury.

“Jamille Matt, who they had from Kidderminster, is a handful and can play as a target-man,” he said.

“They brought seven or eight players in during the January transfer window and they’re certainly not going to be short.

“Graham’s done a really good job since taking over and it’ll be a very hard game for us.

“They’re a very good team.

“I went to watch them at Oxford on Tuesday night and they’re a very hard-working side who are tough to play against.

“They’re a little bit like ourselves in that respect.

“Every away game is difficult, but we can have some confidence.”

Albion have shown some real improvement away from Fortress Pirelli Stadium of late, drawing following a gritty performance at Oxford United and then getting another point at fast-improving AFC Wimbledon.

That, coupled with six home wins on the spin, has kept them right in contention for promotion to League One.

“I don’t see any reason why we can’t go there and get something,” said Rowett. “I think the key thing for me is we’ve got two home games coming up and it’s important we follow up our last four good performances with more of the same.

“Yes, results are important but I said after the two previous away games it was about performances and doing the right things.”

One of the things that Rowett is calling for is a tight start to games away from the Pirelli.

Too often, Burton have been caught cold, although they are one of the most resilient sides in League Two and come back from deficits more often than most other sides.

“What you don’t want to do is give teams a start,” said the Albion boss. “If you look at our division, there aren’t many teams who come back and end up winning after going behind.

“We’re one of the better ones, which says something about our character, but we don’t want to concede the first goal.

“The start of the game is very important and we’ve given away too many early goals on the road.”

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