GARY Rowett will tomorrow make another attempt to solve the riddle of Burton Albion’s unproductive away form.
The Brewers have not won on the road in League Two since early November - and they face a big test of resolve when they meet Northampton Town at Sixfields, kick-off 3pm.
Rowett said: “We have to keep striving to find some sort of formula that brings us better results on the road.”
Albion have had to rely heavily on their strong performances at the Pirelli Stadium to stay in the promotion race in a scenario replicated by tomorrow’s opponents.
Sixth-placed Albion have lost only twice in front of their own supporters this season but away wins have been few and far between.
They grabbed a 1-0 victory at Rochdale in September and repeated the scoreline a month later against Southend United.
The only other three-point haul came at Plymouth Argyle on November 7 - and since then Albion have managed a solitary point at Chesterfield amid a string of defeats at the hands of Cheltenham Town, Wycombe Wanderers, Barnet and York City.
Rowett’s answer to the problem is likely to be to switch to a 4-5-1 formation if top scorer Calvin Zola shakes off his latest groin problem.
Zola is being nursed through the injury
Continued on page 45
but proved he is still a key asset by scoring his 12th of the season in last weekend’s 2-1 defeat of Torquay United.
The Brewers boss said: “Calvin is doing very little training at the moment, but we’re hoping the break between games will mean he’s fit enough to play at Northampton.”
Midfielders Lee Bell (foot) and Jacques Maghoma (knee) are also hoping to shake off injuries picked up against the Gulls.
Rowett said: “We look at formations and things on a game-by-game basis, but what you can see from oure record is that we have lost when we’ve kept faith with 4-4-2 and won games when we’ve gobe to 4-5-1.
“You want continuity and stability in the team, but at the same time we want to be doing better than winning at home and then losing the next game because it’s away.”
Northampton boss Ady Boothroyd is experiencing similar problems as he tries to lift his team from mid-table into the thick of the promotion battle.
The Cobblers have lost only three of their 14 home games but have won only twice on their travels.
Rowett said: “It is a bit strange how we have a similar record to Northampton.
“But that won’t be the issue tomorrow because they’ve got a very, very good home record and they do things in a certain way that we will have to combat.
“They’re probably the best set-piece team in the division and know how to hurt you if you don’t stand up to them.
“Ady Boothroyd kept them up last season and now he has the going in the right direction so it’s going to be a test of our resilience and strength of character.”