BURTON Albion boss Gary Rowett believes he is close to signing a right-back as he continues his summer rebuilding job.
The Brewers boss, left, has so far snapped up centre-backs Zander Diamond and Marcus Holness, as well as left-back Damien McCrory, as he looks to strengthen a defence which was the worst in League Two last season.
Now he is turning his attention to the right side of the back four as he aims to provide competition for long-serving Andy Corbett.
And Rowett hopes it will not be long before he gets his man.
The Brewers boss told Mail Sport: “I am close to one or two.
“It is quite a slow process at the moment, but I think August 1 will be a bit of a cut-off point that will see players wanting to sort themselves out.”
As well as his three defensive recruits, Rowett has also signed midfielder Robbie Weir, but is now targeting a right-back and another striker.
“I would say we are a couple of players short of where we want to be,” he said.
“Right-back is one area — we need to give Corbs (Corbett) some competition — and I would like to bring in another striker.”
While not wanting to name names, the Brewers boss said: “We are not far away from getting a right-back in.
“He has played at a higher level and he has got a couple of other options, but we hope he chooses us and sees us as more of a progressive club.”
Rowett, meanwhile, was not too disheartened by Tuesday night’s 3-2 friendly defeat at Ilkeston FC.
Winger Jimmy Phillips opened the scoring for the visitors, but the Robins went in at half-time 2-1 up as Jack Watts beat Albion keeper Dean Lyness at his near post before the Kidderminster Harriers stopper was defeated by Ryan Wilson’s 30-yarder 10 minutes before the break.
Reading striker Brett Williams, on trial at the Pirelli Stadium, pulled Albion level with 64 minutes gone, but Watts produced a long-range effort of his own two minutes later to secure victory for the Evo-Stik Premier Division side.
Said Rowett: “You always have to bear in mind that at this stage of pre-season it is fitness-based.
“Yes, we want to win every game, but we worked really hard and some of the lads got 90 minutes while others got 60 after a very tough day’s training on Monday.
“The lads would have been pretty tired and credit to Ilkeston, I was very impressed with them.
“I was slightly disappointed with the performance at times.
“You don’t want to concede three goals, but two of them were fantastic strikes.
“We didn’t want to lose the game, but we had three of our main strikers out with niggles.
“It was not like people were running through our back four at will.
“Two of the goals were stunning strikes, although we could have closed the ball down better.
“We made some changes in the second half and I thought that brightened things up for us.”
Rowett gave a run-out to former Southampton and Southend United striker Matt Paterson in the second half.
The 22-year-old, who was born in Dunfermline, came through Bournemouth’s Academy before joining Southampton in 2007.
The 6ft 2ins striker made 18 league appearances for the Saints, scoring twice, before moving to Roots Hall on a two-and-a-half-year deal in January 2010.
He scored two goals in 27 league appearances for the Shrimpers before loans spells at Stockport County, Hamilton Academicals and Forest Green Rovers.
Striker Justin Richards missed the game with a slight hamstring injury picked up in training on Monday, while midfielder Lee Bell, who is likely to be offered a deal by the Brewers following his release by Crewe Alexandra, was sidelined by a cut ankle.
They joined striker Calvin Zola and defender Aaron Webster on the treatment table, while Billy Kee continues to build his fitness following two groin operations.
Lyness started in goal for the Brewers behind a back four of Holness, Diamond, Nathan Stanton and McCrory.
Chris Palmer and Phillips began out wide, with Weir and Jack Dyer in the centre. Williams partnered Adi Yussuf in attack.
Albion had an early chance from a free-kick, but Diamond crashed his header against the crossbar.
However, the Brewers were in front on nine minutes as Ilkeston failed to clear Dyer’s free-kick and Phillips cirled a shot past Robins keeper Ashley Timms and into the far corner.
Yussuf fired inches wide, but after Watts had equalised, the hosts could have gone in front, but Gary Ricketts headed over from six yards.
Palmer, Yussuf and Phillips all failed to hit the target from good positions before Wilson gave Ilkeston the lead before half-time.
Paterson replaced Yussuf at the start of the second half, while triallist Robbie Nielsen was one of four substitutes introduced in the 62nd minute.
Two minutes later and Williams got Albion back on level terms, slotting home a cross at the far post.
However, on 66 minutes, Watts picked the ball up on the right before cutting inside and beating Lyness with a superb finish.