GARY Rowett is looking forward to returning to Fleetwood Town tomorrow – and is predicting a much tighter game than the 4-0 thrashing Burton Albion dished out last season.
The victory in February was one of the highlights of the Brewers’ run to the play-off semi-finals and was a first win away from home in three months.
Jacques Maghoma, Billy Kee and Calvin Zola netted on a memorable afternoon in Lancashire, but Rowett is expecting a closer battle tomorrow, kick-off 3pm.
“We’re looking forward to it, but for different reasons,” said the Albion boss. “It’ll be a lot closer than last time and they’re a lot stronger.
“It’ll be a fantastic test for us to see where we are as a group.”
While Rowett is not ruling out a repeat of the hiding handed out last season, he thinks it unlikely – and reckons Fleetwood boss Graham Alexander is improving the Cod Army.
“I think Graham’s closer to the team he wants than he was in February,” said the Brewers boss.
“We’ve had a bit more time together as a group of players so it’ll be interesting to see how the respective teams are.
“Fleetwood are one of the favourites for promotion so it’ll be an excellent test for us.
“I’m looking forward to having a chat with Graham afterwards, too, because we didn’t get much chance last time.
“He was smarting from it but has improved them a lot since.”
Albion lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation at Sheffield United for the 2-1 win in the League Cup.
They also switched to a system with a lone striker during the 2-2 opening day draw at Cheltenham Town after starting with a 4-4-2 line up.
Rowett has not ruled out going with something similar at Highbury Stadium tomorrow - but will study Fleetwood in great detail before making a decision.
“We had a bit of success with it at Sheffield United,” he said. “In some ways it suits the players we’ve got from time to time.
“It isn’t something I want to do long term but it’s something that’s a viable option from game to game.”
Centre-half Zander Diamond (foot) is out tomorrow, while Kee is a slight doubt with a thigh problem, but he has appeared in every game so far.