GARY Rowett reckons Burton Albion are reaping the benefits of a careful summer recruitment policy which has brought together players with some serious points to prove.
The Brewers have surprised most League Two commentators by throwing off the struggles of previous seasons to put themselves right in the promotion frame.
Albion have been strengthened by the likes of Stuart Tomlinson, Zander Diamond and Robbie Weir, while the loan arrivals of Ian Sharps, Michael Symes and Alex MacDonald gave them an injection of fresh blood at just the right time.
“We made some good decisions in the market and the loan market as well,” said Rowett last night. “The loan market is very important for us and there are some great opportunities to bring some very good players in.
“If you get 11 players who will work as hard as possible it’s a start.
“That was what we wanted to build.
“I also think we’ve got some players who are capable of standing up to the rigours of this league.
“You have to have that if you want any success.
“We recruited heavily around character and I think the attitude of the players has been first-rate.”
There are several players in the squad, among them Diamond, Weir and Michael Symes, who came to the club from League One – and want to get back there as soon as possible.
“A great example of this is Robbie Weir,” said Rowett. “At 23 or 24 he had just had a first season in League One and it was only down to a change in manager that he was available.
“Of course it’s the case that he’s going to want to get back to League One as soon as possible – that’s just the example of someone with the right mentality to want to achieve something.
“You can look at every single player we’ve got and there’s a similar need to achieve.
“Thankfully, we’ve managed to get it right.”
Meanwhile, in the wake of Chris Palmer’s release to go and play in New Zealand, it is unlikely there will be any further imminent departures.
Palmer, 29, had his contract paid up on Friday – and fellow midfielder Cleveland Taylor is in a similar position, being an experienced player but out of the first-team frame.
“I’ve spoken to Cleve,” said Rowett last night. “He’s been immaculate in his professionalism while he’s not been in the team.
“If we could help him move on we’ll look at that over the next couple of weeks.
“Like Chris he’s not been in our plans and if we can try to help him achieve a move somewhere else or a settlement we will.
“He’s conducted himself brilliantly but at the same time it’s not very good for his career not being involved.”