Rowett makes a statement of intent as strike duo are added to Albion squad on deadline day
BURTON Albion used transfer deadline day to send out a statement of intent in their League Two promotion quest – manager Gary Rowett adding two forwards to his squad.
Seasoned striker Michael Symes arrived from League One side Leyton Orient on a loan until the end of the season, while Burnley winger Alex MacDonald has come in initially for a month.
At the same time, there was no sign at all of the much-rumoured move supporters feared – as no club came in with an offer for the Brewers' leading scorer, Calvin Zola.
One striker did leave Burton – as Justin Richards had his contract cancelled by mutual consent.
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Richards is expected to join Oxford United, where he has been on loan for the last month
With Burton sitting third in League Two – albeit having played more games than those around them – Rowett was in bullish mood about his signings.
"We're trying to be proactive," he said.
"I didn't want to say 'we're third so I don't need to change anything.'
"I wanted to give us more competition in attack.
"In one way, if everyone else played so well that the two new guys didn't get a single game between them, it would have been a good move – but, of course, that's not how it will pan out.
"They will have to battle for their places in the team, though."
Symes is 29 and both he and current Burton striker Billy Kee scored for Accrington Stanley when the Brewers lost 2-0 to them at the Pirelli Stadium in 2009.
The 6ft 3in striker's previous clubs include Shrewsbury Town and Bourne-mouth, although he was also on loan at Rochdale last season.
Rowett likened the signing to that of Ian Sharps, who came in from Rotherham a fortnight ago to bolster the defence
"He's been playing in League One and he's proven in League Two," said Rowett.
"He can play as a target man if Calvin Zola is injured and he can play as a link man."
MacDonald, a 22-year-old from Cheshire with a Scottish father, has caps for Scotland at Under-19 and Under-21 level.
He has had two spells on loan at Plymouth Argyle, facing the Brewers at Home Park in November but going off injured. He can play on either wing or as a striker.
"He's quick, explosive and has a bit of power about him," said Rowett.
"We have Adam Drury on the wing and he has done really well but to ask a 19-year-old to come in and play 22 games on the spin is a lot, so Alex gives us an option."
Rowett admitted he was taken aback by just how frantic transfer deadline day was, as he was bombarded with calls from agents trying to find clubs for players.
"I know I haven't been in management long but I've never known anything like it," he said.
"There was an awful lot of hot air and very little action!
"My phone didn't stop all day. Most of them weren't what we were looking for but I'm glad I got the calls – better that than not hearing about a player I might have wanted."
However, the manager insisted all the rumours about Zola being a target – of about six clubs during the day, apparently – were nonsense.
"I can categorically state that we had no inquiries for Calvin – and it would have been a bit late for them to start," he added.