IAN Sharps says Burton Albion are just concentrating on their own performances and ignoring what other sides are doing in what is shaping up to be a tight race for promotion from League Two.
The 33-year-old centre-half netted a late winner as the Brewers beat Northampton Town 1-0 on Boxing Day.
Three points lifted Albion to fourth place going into tomorrow’s home clash with Newport County, kick-off 3pm.
And Sharps says another hard-working performance will be needed to get anything out of the in-form Welsh side.
“So far, so good (over Christmas),” said the former Tranmere and Rotherham stopper. “We’ve got another hard game coming against Newport.
“They’re going strong and are a good outfit – we’ll have to match them in every department.
“We played well at Hartlepool last week and probably deserved the win.
“We probably played better than we did today (against Northampton).
“But that’s how it goes in football sometimes.
“You win a game, you go up a place, you lose a game you go down quite a few.
“It doesn’t matter what everyone else does, we just concentrate on what we do and get on with it.”
Sharps, signed in the summer from Rotherham after a successful loan spell last term, netted his first goal for Burton at the 43rd attempt.
He was over the moon after his wife almost predicted the goal.
“It’s been a very long time,” said the Warrington-born defender. “The missus said she hoped I scored today when she dropped me off. I thought ‘yeah, good one!’
“But it just fell perfectly for me. There was a bit of good movement from the forwards in the box.
“It’s something we work hard on, corners.
“We’ve had a few chances today from corners.
“It’s worth putting the effort in because you reap the rewards in the end.
“We had a few a chances which we didn’t put away but it was a great ball from Macca (Alex MacDonald) in the end and I’m glad one of those corners paid off today.
“It’s one them where you just keep going.
“I’ve had a few chances this year – more volleys than headers – and just had to keep plugging away.
“I think I average about one in 40, so it’s about right!”
Albion had to dig deep to beat Northampton after spurning several good chances, but they refused to panic and showed great patience, something becoming a feature of their game.
“There’s no point panicking – you’ve got to keep doing what you’re good at,” said Sharps. “For us, that’s getting the ball wide and getting the ball into the box.
“We know we’ve got good strikers and good wingers. Sometimes it doesn’t happen for them.
“But they all worked hard and played their part and the goal came in the end.
“It was a hard-fought game but we probably deserved the win.
“Their keeper made some great saves in the first half and we missed some chances in the second half, but I think we were the more offensive team looking for the win – and we deserved it in the end.
“The last five minutes they tried to pile pressure on us but we dealt with it quite well.
“The forwards did well in the corners seeing it out well.
“It’s something we’ve improved since the end of last season when maybe we’d be looking for the second goal.
“We’ve worked hard on that and the three points were vital.”
Sharps also says the strength in depth at the Pirelli Stadium is driving the team on to new heights, with the likes of Zander Diamond and Marcus Holness ensuring he and Shane Cansdell-Sherriff stay right on their toes.
“We’ve got four very good centre-halves, I think, at this club,” he said.
“We’ve got four very good centre forwards and four very good central midfielders too.
“There’s competition for places and we know we’ve got to keep clean sheets to stay in the side.
“Marcus and Zander train really hard every day and push you – and it helps.”