ZANDER Diamond is still viewed as a vital member of Burton Albion’s squad despite being left on the bench for Saturday’s trip to face Wycombe Wanderers.
The 28-year-old centre-half was magnificent as the Brewers reached the League Two play-offs last season.
He missed the first six weeks of this season with a foot injury before playing three games on the bounce.
But with boss Gary Rowett looking to forge effective partnerships all over the pitch, Diamond was replaced by Ian Sharps on Saturday, renewing a pairing with Shane Cansdell-Sherriff.
Rowett broke the news to former Aberdeen defender Diamond on Friday, a day before Albion won 2-1.
“He’s a great pro and an excellent player,” said the Albion boss. “He’s done fantastically well for me since I brought him to the club.
“We’ve conceded more goals than I would’ve liked this season.
“I told him I wouldn’t expect him to be happy.
“He was frustrated about it, but that’s because he’s a winner – nothing more than that.
“If there was an exacting reason every time you change the team, it would be the most complicated game in the world!
“Zander is a key member of the squad and we’ve got some terrific players who weren’t in Saturday’s team.
“It’s going to happen from time to time that one or two aren’t in the team.”
Rene Howe also missed out on Saturday, with Billy Kee and Adam McGurk starting up front and Michael Symes and Dominic Knowles on the bench.
Howe, 26, has netted twice in 10 games since arriving in the summer on a free transfer.
“I just pick a squad that I think is going to go and win us the game,” said Rowett. “There were two other strikers on the bench and Reedy (Adam Reed) also wasn’t in the squad.
“Really, it was just a case of picking the squad we wanted.”