GARY Rowett has paid a glowing tribute to the enduring skills of defender Aaron Webster.
The club’s longest-serving player was unexpectedly called into action at the weekend after sickness ruled Nathan Stanton out of Albion’s side in the second round of the FA Cup at Crewe Alexandra.
With skipper Zander Diamond missing through suspension, Webster had to forge a makeshift central defensive partnership with Marcus Holness.
But the pair played a big part in helping Albion to cause an upset by dumping their League One hosts out of the competition.
The game came as a welcome relief to 31-year-old Webster, who had made only one other start this season after losing his left-back spot to summer signing Damien McCrory before being sidelined by a troublesome hamstring injury.
Rowett said: “I always knew that Aaron would have a part to play once he got over his injury.
“It perhaps came a bit earlier than I expected because of the circumstances, but it didn’t surprise me that he did so well in the game at Crewe.
“I think it suits Aaron playing that way sometimes because he can play tight and doesn’t have to chase too many people down the sides.
“But what he does brilliantly is read the game well, he heads things and he’s composed on the ball.”
Rowett was also full of praise for club skipper John McGrath who played for the whole of the second half at Gresty Road — his longest outing since suffering a serious foot injury in February.
The Brewers boss said: “As well as Chris Palmer has done in recent games, we just felt we needed someone out there who was a little bit more gritty in that (wide) position.
“Once or twice Crewe got away down that side, but we were one-nil up and at the end of the day we just needed to make sure we didn’t concede.
“It was important we made that change and Macca came on and did really well.”
ALBION are celebrating more success after a stunning 2-1 win against Sheffield Wednesday in the third round of the FA Youth Cup.
Goals from Billy Bennett and Ben Cowdrill ensured a committed and spirited display from Mike Whitlow’s young side was rewarded with victory and a place in the fourth round for the first time in the club’s history.
The Brewers took the lead after just two minutes when a neat passage of play led to Harry Austin whipping in a superb left-foot cross and Bennett rose high between two defenders to head past Wednesday goalkeeper Cameron Dawson from 10 yards.
The Owls equalised in the ninth minute when Hayden White converted a rebound from close-range after Brewers keeper Alex Horton had palmed Emmanuel Dieseruvwe’s low drive into the forward’s path.
The Brewers then regained the lead in the 69th minute with a superb move.
Joe Doyle cleverly back-heeled the ball to the advancing Sam Croucher, who beat his defender and found Cowdrill lurking unmarked to smash home past Dawson from six yards.