BURTON Albion assistant manager Kev Summerfield reckons the Brewers are still settling on their best side this season.
Albion won 1-0 at Accrington Stanley on Saturday to preserve their unbeaten record in League Two and move third in an embryonic table.
Adam Reed – making his first start in central midfield – struck in the 98th minute to pay Summerfield and boss Gary Rowett back for their faith in him.
“We have to really work out the best blend, which isn’t going to come overnight,” said the assistant manager.
“There are lots of options now, which is fantastic for us, but in some respects it gives us a little bit of a headache knowing the permutations. But that’s football.
“We’re really pleased for them – they were great.
“It wasn’t the best performance today, but you can’t win them all three or four.
“We’ve dug in and our away record at this stage last season was shocking.
“We’ve made big strides in that direction.”
Last season, the Brewers were pegged back late on to draw 3-3 at the Crown Ground and this time the late goal went the other way.
Summerfield says the turnaround is evidence of the new character in the dressing room.
“It was a real bad one to lose (last season) and I think if we’d won that game we might have sneaked into the top three,” he said.
“That was the turning point in where we were going to end up in the season.
“The big thing for me is this win shows we’ve got more players capable of winning games.
“We’ve recovered from being down in two of three games already, which shows fantastic character – the boys have got bundles of it.”
Albion again won without performing at their best to make it three wins out of five in the league.
Summerfield hopes it is the sign of a good side.
“We would agree (we haven’t hit top gear) – everybody who’s watched the games would admit that,” he said.
“In spells we’ve been really, really good but we haven’t been fluent over 90 minutes.
“We haven’t lost yet, so hopefully that’s a good thing.
“Also, in the last week alone the amount of influence the substitutes have had coming off the bench has been brilliant.
“They’ve changed the games and given us something different.
Before his late winner, Reed was involved in a moment of controversy when his tap-in from a Michael Symes header destined for the net was ruled out for offside.
It denied the big striker a third goal in a week – but Summerfield, who sympathised with Symes, says the goal should have stood after a Stanley defender went off the pitch to make Reed offside.
“What Reedy said was the lad who was marking him stepped off the pitch,” he said.
“Whether you can do that, I’m not sure.
“Symesy was adamant it was going straight in anyhow. That would’ve made it a great week for him – three in three and three back post headers, something we’ve really worked on in training.”