Burton Albion manager Gary Rowett asks players to 'control the controllables' in League Two promotion chase
THEY can talk about taking each game as it comes all they like but there is no escape from the reality of Burton Albion's situation now.
An automatic promotion place in League Two is up for grabs for Gary Rowett's buoyant Brewers side with seven matches to play.
Four of those are at home – where they have the best record in the Football League – starting with a visit from Wycombe Wanderers tomorrow.
The Brewers caught Wycombe at the start of a revival in the away game in November, going down 3-0, but they have had a good record in recent weeks of avenging earlier defeats.
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Manager Gary Rowett concedes that it is impossible not to be aware of where his side are in the table but insists, too, that the players must keep their focus.
"Before the Cheltenham game a fortnight ago, I thought that was a tough home game and knew we were following it with two tough trips, to Aldershot and Dagenham," he said.
"At the time, the pessimist in me wondered if we could stay in there if those games went wrong.
"To come out of them with seven points out of nine has concreted our position, though, and now we have an opportunity with the next two games at home.
"It's a comfort, too, that we have four home games out of the seven left but we must be aware that one slip, one lapse in concentration, and we have it all to do again.
"I have never said that we're not capable of promotion, because I think I have a squad to match any in the division, but if you start to think about the prize, you take your eye off the ball.
"I think it's a Sir Clive Woodward saying that you 'control the controllables.'
"A ref might make a bad decision, you might get a player sent off. You can't control that.
"So, you put the effort in, you as the players to be brave and positive, you try to put in the right performance and then what will be will be.
"Yes, I would love to get the points we need to be certain of the play-offs quickly because then we can say, right, we'll really go for it.
"But I think this fantastic group of players are going to go for it anyway!"
They are likely to be going for it without striker Calvin Zola tomorrow, as he is still troubled by his hamstring, but Michael Symes, who missed Saturday's game at Dagenham with a groin niggle, is likely to be available.
Aaron Webster has also returned to training after a hamstring injury, so Rowett has virtually a complete squad to choose from.
* Colston Crawford also writes a regular blog on the Brewers at www.colstoncrawford.blogspot.co.uk and can be followed on Twitter for match-day updates: @ColstonC