GARY Rowett says Burton Albion have had to tweak the way they play at home this season after visiting sides wised up to them.
The Brewers were sensational at the Pirelli Stadium last season, winning 17 of their 23 League Two games there to finish the season with the best home record in the Football League.
But this time around they have stuttered at home, not helped by some poor discipline which cost them two games through red cards.
Tomorrow, Morecambe are the visitors, kick-off 3pm, as Albion look to record a fourth win on the bounce and cement their place in the top seven.
“More teams are viewing playing against Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium as much harder than they previously perceived it to be,” said Rowett.
“They’re perhaps giving us a little bit more respect as a team.
“They’re also doing a bit more work on us and trying to come up with one or two things to cause us problems in terms of the way they set up defensively.
“That’s been a big part of the way we’ve tried to advance the team in a slightly different way.
“People will notice we’re playing in a different way and we’ve had to do that.
“Teams aren’t coming to hang on, but are coming and trying to combat our strengths.
“We’ve got to adapt the way we play.”
Rowett has worked with his squad to change what they do and reckons striker - or wide-man - Adam McGurk has helped them to adapt their game.
“One way around it is to get better players - and I don’t mean just signing new players, but improving the ones we’ve got too,” said the Brewers boss.
“Certain players, the likes of Adam McGurk, can see the space and drop into it, whereas certain players before could only do certain things and it was probably easier to play against.
“We’re a bit more unpredictable now.”
Rory Delap will still be missing tomorrow with an ongoing hamstring problem and will require another two to three weeks in the treatment room after a setback last week.
The veteran aside, though, the Brewers are at full strength.
Morecambe are again proving a decent outfit in League Two and, like Albion, will harbour play-off ambitions.
Rowett says Shrimps boss Jim Bentley is doing a cracking job in a far from easy financial climate.
“They don’t expect to win every game - we’re both realistic clubs and managers,” he said.
“Jim Bentley’s done an amazing job considering they’re still up there like they were last season, despite the fact he had to make some budget cuts this summer which were quite public.
“He’s produced another excellent team with no compromise to the football they want to play.”
Meanwhile, Rowett says there is nothing in a rumour linking him with the vacant Notts County managerial position.
He was at Meadow Lane on Tuesday night to watch the Magpies beat Oldham Athletic 3-2, but was simply taking in a League One match.
“Jobs come up and we go to games as managers and people see us and automatically think we’re interested in the job,” said the Albion boss.
“I’ve had lots of ribbing from the lads saying ‘are you leaving us gaffer?’ but I don’t take a lot of notice of these rumours.
“It’s a nice compliment to be linked with jobs and shows you’re doing something right.
“It would have to be a very good club to come in and prise any of us away.
“Burton’s a club on the up - we’ve got the Pirelli Stadium, St George’s Park to train at and a chairman who’s fully supportive.
“It’s an exciting time to be at the club.”