IAN Sharps will be at Roots Hall today – and Burton Albion boss Gary Rowett hopes his suspended player of the year can help him lead the players to Wembley.
The 33-year-old defender was harshly sent off against Southend last week in the first leg of the play-off semi-finals.
It means he misses today’s match as the Brewers look to build on their 1-0 win over the Shrimpers. He will also miss a possible Wembley final.
Sharps could be forgiven for wanting to stay as far from the action as possible - but he will be in Essex for the big game.
“Sharpsy will be here – he asked to come down and will be with us leading the players,” said Rowett. “I think that’ll be really important.
“I said to him on Monday that he just had to be a leader and help the lads.
“He’s done that all season, and whether he’s been captain or not, he plays like one.
“That’s a role he plays and he’s perceived as a captain – he’s a captain regardless of whether he’s got a little bit of material around his arm.
“We’re going to need lots of characters there and leadership from the players as well as us (the management team).”
Sharps will not be the only out of action player at Roots Hall, with Damien McCrory (knee) still on crutches as he recovers from an operation.
“What Sharpsy’s doing shows real unselfish leadership, and I think that’s what leadership is all about,” said Rowett.
“It’s not about you, it’s about everyone else and how you can help everyone else.
“If Sharpsy plays that role to good effect he’ll do it with real meaning and heart - and because he wants to do it, not because I’ve told him to.
“He won’t be the only one there.
“You’ve got Damien on crutches and in a knee brace. He’ll be there on the sidelines, hopping, while cheering in Irish - so you won’t understand it too well - but he’ll be cheering!
“That’s what you’ve got - an honest group. We might not be the best in the division in terms of quality, but two years running we’ve got to the play-offs.”