GARY Rowett’s Burton Albion side wrote themselves into the club’s history books on Saturday when they beat Cheltenham Town to climb back up to third in League Two.
The Brewers made it an incredible nine wins on the spin at home with their exciting 3-1 victory over the Robins, breaking the record set by Nigel Clough’s Conference-winners in 2008/09.
Rowett was delighted afterwards – both with the performance and the record – but says some of the credit has to be sent Clough’s way.
“It’s not bad, is it?” said the Brewers boss. “I might give Nige a ring later and attempt a gloat!
“Seriously, though, I can’t help but feel some of this is possibly down to all the hard work that he did, so maybe I’ll ring him and thank him actually for the foundations he’s put in place here.”
Cheltenham bossed the opening stages of the match before a two-goal blast in less than five minutes from Alex MacDonald and Robbie Weir shot Albion into a 2-0 lead.
A second for the outstanding Weir made it 3-0 and Byron Harrison’s late goal was just a consolation.
“We knew they’d pin us back and pass the ball in the way they do,” said Rowett. “They’ve got four midfielders across the middle of the park who don’t want to stay wide, and go and forage in the holes.
“We knew it was important to block them up. I thought we did that well and after about 10 minutes we started to get closer to people and win one or two challenges and one or two second balls.
“I felt as soon as we did that we got a little foothold in the game.
“A lot of our tactical work in the week was done on getting balls into the strikers and then exploiting things from that.
“It was important we had that control and as soon as Symesy (Michael Symes) and Billy (Kee) started getting hold of it and keeping the ball, the likes of Alex and Mags (Jacques Maghoma) could come into play.”
MacDonald, who has signed on loan from Burnley until the end of the season, stood out on the right wing and his cross for Weir’s first goal was a peach.
And Weir, so prolific in pre-season, had possibly his best game yet in a competitive Albion game.
“Alex has deserved his goal,” said Rowett. “His quality from the right was fantastic today.
“He’s a little bit different to what we’ve got. You’ve got Mags who’ll go and run past people and Alex who can deliver with real intelligence and quality and I felt he did that fantastically well today.
“I think what you saw (from Robbie) was finishes to match the runs.
“In recent weeks I feel he’s come right back to his best, like his pre-season form.
“I think he’s done brilliantly all season personally, but I think he’s now back to the eye-catching things he does.
“Maybe that’s because he’s not trying quite as hard to get into those positions and score.
“It’s difficult when you’ve scored five or six in pre-season and everyone is judging you on your goals.
“Maybe Robbie’s felt that and wanted to get goals. Today he relaxed a bit more and got two deserved goals.”
There was also a return to the side for skipper Zander Diamond after his suspension and appearance on the bench last week for the 3-0 defeat at Bristol Rovers.
And the 27-year-old did not put a foot wrong after replacing the unfortunate Marcus Holness.
“I made a decision and I was either going to be right or wrong and fortunately today I was right,” said Rowett.
“I’m sure there’ll be other times when I make a mistake and do it differently.
“Marcus has done really well in there, but I felt for the group it was right to bring Zander back in.
“He’s (Marcus) got to keep his head and make sure he’s ready for when we need him, which could be the next few games – he’s got to make sure he comes back in and plays with the intensity he has before.
“I thought Zander and Sharpsy (Ian Sharps) played Paul Benson particularly well and the threat of Sam Deering just off him.”