GARY Rowett’s Burton Albion are ready for a massive test at Port Vale tonight – and the Brewers boss says his promotion-chasers will get stuck into the Valiants.
Albion visit Vale Park, kick-off 7.45pm, hoping for three points to keep them in the race for the League Two top three.
And with Vale looking for a win to stay in second spot, it promises to be a compelling clash.
“The lads have looked bright as a button in training,” said Rowett last night. “We’re going to go there and give it a right good go.
“If you go there and sit in and try to defend, they are good enough to break you down at some point in the game.”
Billy Kee and Calvin Zola will both have late fitness tests and hamstring complaints today.
The match could be another belter like the 1-1 draw at the Pirelli Stadium in October, when loanee Jordan Chapell scored for the Brewers in a 1-1 draw.
“It was end-to-end at our place,” said Rowett. “Both teams had opportunities to win the game and 1-1 was a good result in the game.
“We’ve got to go there and show them respect, but have also got to play the game with no pressure.
“It’s not the be all and end all.
“Both teams want to win and all we’ve got to do is approach the game like we have the last 40 games.
“People have been hyping the game up, but every game at this stage of the season is a big game.”
Tom Pope is Vale’s leading goalscorer and has 29 in 41 appearances this season – an impressive haul which puts him well clear in the League Two goalscoring charts.
Rowett has told his side to be wary of the 27-year-old – and Vale’s other attacking threats.
“When you look at the class of Tom Pope and the other good attacking players they have, it’s very important that as a team you defend well,” said Rowett.
“You have to be strong against them and have got to stop them doing what they want to do.
“It’s one thing saying it, though, and another to go to Vale Park and do it – that’s the challenge.”
Meanwhile, loan signing Lee Fowler has hinted that he would like to move to the Pirelli Stadium on a permanent basis.
Rowett is happy to have the 29-year-old involved on loan from Doncaster Rovers and has not ruled out a longer deal.
“First and foremost, I got Lee in to bring some added experience and a bit of an option in midfield should we need it,” he said. “Robbie (Weir) getting his booking straight away probably showed it was a good decision to bring him in.
“He’s a bit different to what we’ve got.
“We’ve got Belly (Lee Bell) in there, who’s experienced, gritty and good on the ball.
“There’s Robbie, with his running and goalscoring.
“Fowls plays away from the game and keeps possession very, very well.
“He gets on the ball and gets it moving when you need him to.”