GARY Rowett says Robbie Weir is very much a key component of his Burton Albion squad after the hard-working midfielder started the last three matches on the bench.
Eyebrows were raised when Weir – a mainstay of the Brewers side as they reached the League Two play-offs last season – was dropped in favour of summer signing Adam Reed for the trip to Accrington Stanley.
Reed, 22, kept his place for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy match at Notts County and Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Oxford United, with Weir, 24, still on the bench.
Rowett has backed Weir to come back strongly from his break – and says it was toss-up between him and Lee Bell to be left out in the first place.
“As everyone knows, last season Robbie and Belly were the heartbeat of our team really,” said the Brewers boss. “We’ve expected it to be the same this season.
“I brought in Adam Reed to add some competition, and Matty Palmer has come through as well and added to that.
“We just felt in the first six or seven games that Robbie, like one or two others, hadn’t played quite as well as he had done – by his own admission as well.
“With the squad we’ve got, you’ve got to give other people a chance.
“Reedy’s got his chance and as soon as someone stops performing, Robbie will get his chance again.”
Weir looked back to his old self in Monday’s behind-closed-doors 1-1 friendly draw with Leicester City and Rowett reckons the Northern Irishman could just have needed a break.
“He hasn’t done anything in particular (to miss out), other than not quite live up to the standards he set last season,” he said.
“He’s an all action midfielder and we all love him for that.
“When you don’t see him involved in all the action you wonder why.
“He probably needed a breather.
“Ordinarily, without as much competition then he would’ve stayed in the side.”