GARY Rowett reckons training at the FA Centre could help Burton Albion to attract high quality players to the club.
The Brewers boss has just signed Ian Sharps on loan from Rotherham United for the rest of the season.
Signing the 32-year-old centre-half is a genuine coup for Albion - and Rowett reckons the quality of facilities on offer at Rangemore can only help to bring players like Sharps to the club.
“The centre has certainly helped us attract players,” the Brewers boss said last night. “I think that’s a very big thing for us as a club.
“The players we’ve got will put word around to people they know and it becomes a big plus.”
Burton returned to training yesterday after missing sessions on Friday and Monday because of the bad weather.
The FA Centre was playable, but the road network was considered too dangerous, so the players stayed at home.
“The road are fine now,” said Rowett. “There were one or two teams trying to get up there (to Rangemore) as it’s one of the only places where teams are able to train.”
Rowett thinks the FA Centre could be a big advantage for the Brewers - not only in attracting the right kind of signing - as they chase a place in the League Two play-offs.
The quality of the facilities is better than that enjoyed by most teams in the Football League, let alone in League Two.
“Training there can’t hinder us,” said the Brewers boss. “The lads who came down from Morecambe for the reserve game were laughing about how good it was up there.
“We had a good 90-minute session yesterday and the other lads played in the reserves.
“I hope we won’t have any more disruptions - it’d be nice to go and get a good week of training in.
“At this time of year you get bad weather and you can only do what you can.
“We’re fortunate to be up there.
“The pitches are brilliant to begin with.
“Often, teams in our division won’t have a training pitch of the same standard.
“Training pitches can get overused and a club may only have a couple of pitches.
“There are 12 at the FA Centre and it keeps the standard quite high.
“As well as the outside pitches there are two indoors that we’ve used intermittently.”
The FA Centre could be double-edged sword, though, as players can get used to a certain standard of surface which tempts them into playing a lavish brand of football.
It is something Rowett has to keep an eye on.
“The challenge we’ve found is in the summer months,” he said. “You train on a pitch which is so good the players think they’re Barcelona!
“Then on a Saturday in the middle of winter that pitch isn’t going to be of the same quality.
“That provides a bit of a challenge and you have to be realistic about the way you train.”
Sharps took part in his first training sessions yesterday and was immediately made to feel welcome by his new team-mates.
“Your first session at a new club is always a bit of a strange on,” said Rowett. “There are lot of other people around training at the same time.
“He’s an experienced lad and has been around a few clubs.
“It’ll only take him a day or two to settle in - and there’s a great set of lads here to help him.”