STRIKER Matt Paterson has an important role to play in Burton Albion’s run-in, says manager Gary Rowett.
The 23-year-old front-runner has found his starting chances limited in his first season at the Pirelli Stadium.
However, he has played an important role coming off the bench – and has chipped in with four important goals, including winners against Torquay United and Rochdale.
“Matt’s got excellent ability and is still only a young lad,” said Rowett, whose side sit third in the League Two table. “What he gives you, particularly off the bench – which is important – is real energy.
“He can come on and change a game.
“We were struggling to get out on Saturday at Dagenham for a bit and he was able to get on the end of one or two longer balls.
“We’ve been really pleased with him recent weeks.”
Despite not getting a regular start, with Billy Kee, Michael Symes and Calvin Zola all competing for two spots up front, Paterson’s attitude has stayed the same, impressing Rowett.
“With others starting more games it would be easy for him to get his head down,” said the Brewers boss.
“But he hasn’t – he’s worked hard in training, done well when he’s got on and has contributed a lot.
“His contributions are not what people always see and we’ve been really happy with Matt.”
Now, Paterson – who looked bright at Dagenham at the weekend – has the chance to play a part in the final seven games of the League Two season and help Albion towards either promotion or a play-off place.
Rowett especially thinks the former Southampton youth player can have a big impact in away games.
“Particularly away from home he has been really good and sometimes you need a player like that,” he said. “He can stretch the game and make these runs.
“Certainly we’re looking for him to do that.”