06:00 Saturday 28 December 2013

Burton Albion manager Gary Rowett is set to make changes for Newport County

Written byTOM SLOAN

WEIGHING UP HIS OPTIONS . . . Gary Rowett believes selecting the same starting XI for the third successive game against Newport tomorrow could be asking too much of his players WEIGHING UP HIS OPTIONS . . . Gary Rowett believes selecting the same starting XI for the third successive game against Newport tomorrow could be asking too much of his players

GARY Rowett is hoping his Burton Albion side can maintain their momentum at home when Newport County visit tomorrow.

The Brewers beat Northampton 1-0 on Boxing Day to climb up to fourth spot in the League Two table.

It was a fifth win in six at the Pirelli Stadium in all competitions and the manager is looking for another three points tomorrow, kick-off 3pm.

“We’re starting to achieve a good level of consistency with our performances as well as results,” said Rowett.

“We’ve got to keep going. It’s not about what we’ve done, it about us having the drive to keep pushing the barriers a bit.

“That’s what we’ve got to keep doing.

“I think we’ve won five out of six, which is a real improvement on the early season form where everyone started panicking a bit that we couldn’t win at home.

“We’re becoming very consistent as a team.”

Rowett is almost certain of making changes for the visit of Newport, who have lost just once in their last 10 league matches.

The Albion boss named an unchanged side against Northampton after the 1-1 draw at Hartlepool but thinks it could be asking a bit much for the same players to start again.

“Newport are flying – but it won’t be any harder than Northampton, it’ll be equally hard,” he said. “We’ve got good options.

“Maybe I could’ve changed it today.

“You look in retrospect and maybe feel as though freshening it up with one or two might have been a good idea.

“Certainly, on the 29th (against Newport) we might have to look at that. Expecting the players to go again might be a little bit greedy.”

What dissuaded Rowett from making changes on Boxing Day was the contribution of assistant Kev Summerfield, who argued that Northampton was a must-win game in Burton’s charge for League Two honours.

“Kev made a good point the other day,” said Rowett. “I was toying with changing it for today’s game - that was in my mind.

“Kev said for him this was the most important game of the season.

“I know you can always have the saying that the next game is the most important one, but I just felt - we all felt - as though this might set us up.

“Lose this one, suddenly you’re on the back foot, under pressure to win the one against Newport - which is ridiculous, seeing where we are in the league.

“But the fact that we won it really hopefully just gives us that bit more impetus.”

Burton are becoming increasingly consistent and are unbeaten in eight in all competitions and Rowett is happy with what is being built at the Pirelli.

“I would have to say that if you looked, apart from the 10 games I had as caretaker manager, from the start of last season, there on in, I think we’ve won more than 50 per cent of our games,” he said.

“We’ve had real consistency. I looked at that this morning and in your mind you think if we were to lose today and then not beat Newport...but then you think we’ve never had a spell, apart from something like three games, where we’ve not won.

“Again, that’s testament to the players and the fact they’ve bought in to what we want to try to do.”

One player who stood out against Northampton was winger Jimmy Phillips.

The 24-year-old’s ability has never been in doubt, but he gave as consistent a 90 minutes as he ever has in a Burton shirt.

And Rowett was pleased for one of the most popular characters at the club.

“You ask any player at our club, in training, who’s the player with the most ability in our squad,” said the manager. “I think there’s quite a few who would come up with Jimmy’s name.

“That’s what he is - he’s a great lad and he’s got a real great work ethic.

“With a bit of confidence we’ll see those kind of displays more and more.

“I think sometimes Jimmy needs to believe in himself a little bit more.

“That’s going to be very important for him.”

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