GARY Rowett reckons Burton Albion are a tougher side this season compared to the one which reached the League Two play-offs in 2012/13.
The Brewers boss thinks recruiting reliable, consistent players this summer has made his side harder to beat on the road.
They recorded their fifth away win, 1-0 at Exeter, on Saturday – a result which equalled the number of travelling wins they enjoyed in the whole of 2012/13.
“We said we had lost two of our better players from last season (Calvin Zola and Jacques Maghoma) and might have to reinvigorate the team in a different way,” said the Albion boss.
“We might have to be stronger in a different way – and the obvious thing was that we needed to be better away from home.
“I felt as though we needed to recruit players of, not more character, but who are perhaps a little more reliable when you’re travelling three-and-a-half, four hours to the likes of Exeter, when one or two players might think ‘it’s a bit windy, I don’t really fancy it’ and then the opposition ends up beating you.”
The Brewers went down 3-0 at St James Park early on last season and Rowett is confident the weekend’s result illustrates how his side has improved.
“This time last season, we had most of the game at Exeter for half an hour and ended up losing 3-0,” he said.
“This time it was a similar start where it was pretty even and we ended up nicking it 1-0. I think that shows how we’ve changed.
“It might mean we don’t overrun teams at home at times like we did last season.
“But at the moment we’re winning games and picking points up.”
Rowett was driven mad by a lack of consistency which undermined Burton’s bid for automatic promotion last season.
Despite an upturn in their fortunes away from home after Christmas, they only won twice on the road from January to April.
“It’s no good winning a game and then losing a game,” said Rowett. “We did that from Christmas onwards, winning a game and losing a game.
“As a manager that’s quite frustrating.
“It’s nice knowing that the chances are you’re going to win the home game.
“But it’s nice to feel you’ve got a chance of winning any game, home or away.
“I’ll take the odd defeat at home if that’s the case.
“I’m pleased with the way we’re developing at the moment.
“We’ve got a pretty young team except for one or two.”
ALBION visit Romulus tonight in the first round of the Birmingham Senior Cup, kick-off 7.45pm.