GARY Alexander insists Burton Albion still believe they can finish in League Two’s top three, and hopes his experience and guidance can help them realise those dreams.
The 34-year-old striker has yet to find the net for the Brewers since arriving from Crawley Town earlier this year, but his impact has certainly been felt in other areas.
This was never so evident as in last Saturday’s 1-0 win over Plymouth Argyle, when Alexander was man-of-the-match in the first half, holding the ball up, linking play and vocally directing his team-mates.
“I get out there and talk, it’s part of my game,” he said.
“I’ve got plenty of experience under my belt, so if I can help the younger lads through, that’s great.
“But we’ve got a number of senior pros here, Sharpsy (Ian Sharps), Belly (Lee Bell), Shane (Cansdell-Sherriff), we’ve all played hundreds of games between us.”
Burton head to Northampton Town tomorrow, kick-off 3.07pm, sitting three points behind Chesterfield in the third League Two promotion spot.
And while he has confidence in his new team-mates to catch their East Midlands rivals, Alexander – who played in the play-offs twice with Millwall – says Albion have what it takes to gain promotion that way as well.
“I’ve gone up through the play-offs before and we believe we can do it,” he said.
“But the lads in there still believe they can catch the top three.
“Hopefully we’re back chasing and the pressure is on those top three.
“If we can keep sneaking up there then who knows what can happen.”
Alexander’s arrival at the Pirelli Stadium has given the Brewers a dimension they have lacked since the departure of Rene Howe and the injury absence of Michael Symes, and he says he is happy playing that role.
“Predominantly I play with my back to goal and to be honest, at this stage in my career, if I can create goals for other people then I’ve played my part,” said the former West Ham United trainee.
“Anyone who knows football will know that it’s not all about scoring goals.
“It’s about looking after that ball for the team, keeping possession and creating chances.”
Alexander and Billy Kee looked good together last week after the former came in for the injured Adam McGurk.
“It’s good to be back in the side,” said Alexander.
“I’ve had to bide my time because Gurks has been playing well.
“But unfortunately Gurks got a knock last week and I’ve come in.
“Me and Billy seemed to do all right for the hour we were on together and caused a few problems.
“We played our part holding the ball up, it wasn’t really a centre-forward’s game.
“The more we play together, the better the partnership becomes.
“The understanding looked pretty good, and they took their centre-half off at half-time.
“That was a boost for ourselves.”
With McGurk likely to come back into contention this weekend, and Symes having got 90 minutes under his belt in the midweek Birmingham Senior Cup game against West Bromwich Albion, Burton once again have – with Dominic Knowles – five strikers upon whom they can call.
“It’s all about having a good squad, and that can only benefit Burton as a club having everyone fit,” said Alexander.
“I’ve come here and had an injury I didn’t want, but now I’m back playing.
“If I can stay fit then hopefully I can play my part and put a couple of goals in.”