MANAGER Gary Rowett says Burton Albion will go into tomorrow’s FA Cup first round tie at home to Altrincham feeling like it is their most important game of the season.
The Brewers will be big favourites to progress to the second round against the mid-table Blue Square Bet North side, kick-off 3pm, but Rowett says he will not be making wholesale changes — even with the prospect of a long trip to Plymouth in the league three days later.
The Brewers boss said: “It is not particularly the game to make six or seven changes — I don’t like making too many changes.
“The fact Altrincham are a couple of divisions below us does not mean I will disrespect them and start resting players.
“We need to be at our best as Altrincham will love the tie — they will have nothing to lose.
“I have been on the end of shocks and there is a responsibility that comes with being favourites in a tie.
“If you take games lightly, football has a way of smacking you in the face.
“I guarantee the players will feel like they are going into their most important game of the season.
“Altrincham stand in our way of being successful in the competition and they have some good individual players.
“I’ve been on the end of upsets and it’s not a nice feeling.
“There are no guarantees, but if we do everything right and play as well as we can then we should get the result.”
Rowett insist he and his players will be concentrating fully on the task in hand tomorrow and not looking ahead to Wednesday night.
“We will not worry about Plymouth until we get to it,” he said.
“I don’t think a four-hour trip to Plymouth on the day of the game is ideal, but the players will have three days to recover.
“If we choose to make changes, it will be to do with picking the best side to beat Altrincham, not resting people for the Plymouth game.”
Central defender Marcus Holness and midfielder Chris Palmer could return to the squad having made their comebacks from injury for the reserves in midweek.
Holness has not featured since picking up a hamstring injury in the 3-1 home victory over York City on September 19, while Palmer has been out with an Achilles tendon injury suffered in the 1-0 win at Rochdale on September 8.
However, both played the full 90 minutes as Albion’s second string won 2-1 at Shrewsbury Town’s Greenhous Meadow on Tuesday.
Midfielder Jack Dyer missed that game because of illness, but Rowett expects him to have recovered in time to be considered tomorrow, leaving Aaron Webster (hamstring) and Jimmy Phillips (metatarsal) as the only absentees.
John McGrath, who made his comeback after eight months out with a foot injury by playing 71 minutes at Shrewsbury, is unlikely to be risked.