Rowett waits on his walking wounded but is sure he still has the squad to beat Millers
GARY Rowett says he is confident Burton Albion can beat Rotherham United tomorrow – whoever ends up on the pitch for the Brewers.
The Burton boss faces an availability crisis for the Rotherham game but there appears to be every chance it will have eased considerably for the match that follows, away to Fleetwood Town.
Apart from an injury list which includes seven first te-team squad regulars, Burton will be without their two first-choice centre-halves tomorrow.
Captain Zander Diamond begins a four-match suspension after being sent off last week, while on-loan defender Ian Sharps cannot play against his parent club tomorrow.
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Rowett's options for the Rotherham game will not be entirely clear until he sees who can take part in – and come through – today's training session.
Both of the club's left-backs are rated extremely doubtful to be involved.
First-choice Damian McCrory is still struggling with the ankle injury which kept him out last week, while his replacement, Aaron Webster, has picked up a calf injury.
Right-back Anthony O'Connor sprained his ankle against Wimbledon last week but was fit enough to manage 45 minutes for the Republic of Ireland Under-21s in midweek.
"Anthony is a little bit sore after that but I'm hopeful that he'll be able to play tomorrow," said Rowett.
"I'm also hopeful that Nathan Stanton will have come through a knee injury, which we think may be related to an ankle infection he's had."
Rowett has one fit centre-half available, in Marcus Holness but he could be partnered in the middle. by either Stanton or O'Connor if they are available.
At full-back, Rowett may have to play a midfielder out of position.
"In training on Tuesday, we had Jack Dyer at right-back and John McGrath at left-back and they could be options," said Rowett.
"But both Nathan and Anthony have played at full-back on both sides in the past.
"It really will be a case of having a head count after training and seeing who we've got, then deciding the best combination, while playing as few people as possible out of position.
"I've considered getting someone on loan but the chances are they would only be needed for one game and I'm conscious that I already have five loan players in the squad.
"I had one fit defender on Tuesday but the reality is that I could have seven again by next week, so it's just this one game we have to get through.
"Whatever happens, I genuinely believe whoever we put out on the pitch will be capable of winning a League Two football match.
"We'll have 18 in the squad, too. We'll be able to fill the bench."
Rowett has further problems up front, with leading scorer Calvin Zola again not having trained this week and Billy Kee having taken a bang on his ankle in training.
However, the two strikers who started at Wimbledon, Matt Paterson and Michael Symes, will again be available, while Burton are hopeful that on-loan winger Alex MacDonald will have recovered from the dead leg which forced him to cut short his debut midway through the first half last week.
In addition, teenage prospect Matty Palmer has recovered from a groin injury and is back in training.
Burton go into tomorrow's game a point ahead of big-spending Rotherham and keen to avenge a 3-0 defeat when the Millers launched their new stadium on the first day of the season.
It was a scoreline which certainly flattered the home side and Rowett said: "I think what's brilliant is that, after 31 games, we are right up there against the bigger clubs.
"Rotherham recruited heavily, they have a new stadium and a terrific manager in Steve Evans but we are a point ahead of them at this stage and it's a fantastic achievement.
"If anyone says to me that we're a bit fortunate to be there and it won't last, I say why not?
"There is no pressure on us. We think we can continue to compete with these big clubs for the rest of the season."