GARY Rowett has praised the doggedness of his Burton Albion play-off hopefuls — and wants more of the same tomorrow.
The Brewers climbed to fifth in the League Two table after a smash-and-grab victory over Plymouth Argyle at Home Park on Wednesday evening.
Rowett admitted his men were sadly lacking in terms of skill and craft, but had nothing but praise for the never-say-die attitude that earned them an unlikely 2-1 victory with two goals late in the game.
The Brewers boss will call for more of the same in what on paper is an even tougher assignment against fellow highfliers Cheltenham Town at Whaddon Road tomorrow, kick-off 3pm.
Rowett said: “It was far from a good performance at Plymouth, but what you saw was a team that never gives up.”
Albion trailed to a Paris Cowan-Hall strike but stole the points with goals from Nathan Stanton — his first for the club — and Robbie Weir in a five-minute spell.
The Brewers boss said: “I can’t speak highly enough of the way the lads more often than not find a way to win games or salvage something.
“Our recruitment in the summer was based on the philosopy of bringing in
people with character and I think we’re seeing the benefit of having the right type of players on board.
“I usually prefer to talk about performances and us doing the right things, but it’s also nice to be up there in the table because I see it as a reward for the work we’ve done.
“It is certainly something that I hope will stand us in good stead for what will be a difficult game at Cheltenham.” Albion looked as though they would come home empty-handed from Plymouth after a struggling to establish a foothold in the game.
Rowett said: “We just couldn’t get up the pitch because we didn’t show enough composure on the ball and we didn’t pass it well enough.
“It meant we had to be patient but I thought Chris Palmer made a big difference when he came on.” Palmer was sent into action just after the hour mark - his first appearance after a six-week injury lay-off.
Rowett said: “I thought Chris did a really good job when he came on because he played with composure and control to get us back in the game.”
Palmer may have done enough to earn a place in the starting line-up at Cheltenham, especially if Rowett again decides to start the game with Calvin Zola operating as a lone striker.
He said: “There are times when it’s right to do it, but it only works if players get to grips with it, which wasn’t necessarily the case at Plymouth.”
The Brewers boss had to revert to a 4-4- 2 formation in the second half at Plymouth, but could be swayed by the fact that Cheltenham’s usual set-up is 4-5-1.
“We know Cheltenham play with lots of pace, energy and width and we have to combat it,” he said.
Rowett will assess the fitness of his squad today when players return to training after being given yesterday off to recover from the long journey home from Devon.