BURTON Albion striker Billy Kee insists more hard work is needed as he strives to rediscover his stunning goalscoring form of last season.
Kee bagged his third goal of the campaign on Saturday as the Brewers battled back from falling behind to earn a share of the spoils against Bristol Rovers at the Pirelli Stadium and extend their unbeaten run in League Two to eight games.
However, the 21-year-old has seen his opportunities limited this season following a double operation in the summer on a groin injury which forced him to miss the last two months of the 2011/12 campaign.
“I’m delighted to get on the scorsheet today because I’ve been in and out this season and it’s just nice to get back in the team and score,” Kee said.
“I still need to work on my all round game a bit more because it’s not like it was last season, but I think it will come to me with games.”
Kee started the first four games of the season and bagged his first goal in the 6-2 home defeat of AFC Wimbledon on August 21.
However, he then started just one of the next seven games through a combination of indifferent form, Northern Ireland Under-21 international call-ups and illness.
He scored his second goal of the campaign when starting at the Coral Windows Stadium as Albion lost 3-2 to Bradford City in the third round of the Capital One Cup, but has, once again, been in and out of the side since.
Kee was a revelation last season, though he did have to bide his time following his move from Torquay United.
After three substitute appearances in his first five games, he bagged 12 goals in as many starts before the groin injury disrupted his season.
Now, after another slow start, he is looking to rediscover that form.
“I am a bit frustrated, but at the same time I’m not because I had eight months out last year and it’s hard, especially how I left off last year — you want it all just to come really early.
“I’ve just got to work hard and dig in.
“I’ve just been in and out, I’ve not really had that many games, but I’ve still scored more goals that I had this time last year.
“I think today I looked a lot better and I felt a lot better in myself, I could keep running.
“I’ve just got to keep going, I’ve got to get fitter, I’ve got to do the extra work and really put it in for myself.”
Kee’s goal on Saturday came in the 50th minute as he glanced home a header from midfielder Lee Bell’s free-kick from the right and restored parity after the Pirates had taken a 31st minute lead.
Left-back Jim Paterson swung in a cross to the far post, where striker Tom Eaves went up with Brewers central defenders Zander Diamond and Robbie Kiernan.
The ball broke to midfielder David Clarkson on the edge of the box and he was given all the time in the world to pick his spot and find the back of the net.
Kee said he and his team-mates were pleased to have extended their unbeaten run but were disappointed not to have won, particularly at home.
He said: “Yeah, there were times in the game where I thought we could have walked away with the three points.
“I thought we started the game slowly today, but when we got into the game we had good chances.
“I think they tried to slow the game down a lot and we were trying to keep going for the whole game.
“It was one of those days, but I think we did all right to get a point – we came back second half and showed a bit of courage.
“The first half, we did start slow, but sometimes you get that.
“We dug in deep and we did get the goal second half.
“Their goal was sloppy – it’s a free shot.
“We’re not like that. You see how we play, that’s why we’re eight unbeaten now.
“Gaz (manager Gary Rowett) keeps mentioning it – unbeaten runs, unbeaten runs – but we’re not really thinking about it, we just want to win games and I think if we can turn some of these draws into wins, we’re going to be right up there.
“You can see the difference from last year to this year, it’s totally different.
“I’m hoping we can push on from here and hopefully turn some of those draws and losses into wins.
“We don’t look like conceding.
“Today, we were a bit sloppy, but I’d say that was a one-off for us because I know we’re gonna get hammered in the week for that and we’re gonna be running for it.
“We work as a unit now, whereas last season we didn’t do that – I’d stay up and just dolly around where we’re having to drop in all the time me and (fellow striker) Justin (Richards).
“It’s a bit different, but it really shows – that’s how we’re getting draws and wins out of games.”
Kee admitted the Brewers have been missing injured striker Calvin Zola, who had bagged five goals in as many games before being ruled out, but said the other attacking players had to step up.
“We are perhaps missing Calvin, but you can’t dwell on that,” he said.
“I think me and Justin did all right today and we did look like scoring in cases.
“Calvin’s a big loss for us, but we’ve got to get on with it.”