Worst week of preparation but Rowett is delighted at the end
AFTER what he described as the worst week of preparation in his time at Burton Albion, manager Gary Rowett was buzzing about the Brewers' outstanding 2-0 win over Rotherham United.
"We had a very, very bad week in terms of preparation," said Rowett.
"It's been horrendous, really, the worst since we've been here. Even on Friday, I thought that three players who played might not have made it.
"It really was a case of just getting a side out, let alone winning the game, so I would say that was the biggest result I can remember in the League for us, in terms of its magnitude and the message it sends out.
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"I'm really proud about it."
Striker Billy Kee played despite an ankle injury picked up early in the week in training and rewarded the manager's gamble with two clinical finishes to earn the Brewers three points.
"I can't believe Billy got through the game," said Rowett. His ankle had been up like a balloon but we strapped it up and he did really well. Aaron Webster has just said he's not sure how he got through the game.
"But we've preached about the squad, with everyone playing their part and we knew everyone had to.
"The likes of Marcus Holness and Nathan Stanton came back into the side and I thought they were absolutely immense.
"We'll have poor afternoons on the pitch between now and the end of the season but it's days like this which will carry us through.
"The character has been brilliant all season. We might lack a bit of quality at times but we certainly won't lack character.
"We've created a side who, on their day, are more than a match for any of the big guns in this division."
Rotherham, who started the day one point behind Burton, are certainly one of those Rowett views as big guns in League Two.
"We spoke about how proud and surprised, if you like, we were to be a point ahead of a side like Rotherham, so to beat them at home and preserve this wonderful home record we have was an absolutely monumental achievement," said Rowett.
"I think if we finish above Rotherham at the end of the season, we'll get promoted, such is their ability.
"I think they'll win an awful lot of games between now and the end of the season. I fully expect them to challenge for the top three positions."
Rotherham had David Noble sent off for two yellow cards in quick succession at the end of the first half and lost Michael O'Connor for a foul on Jacques Maghoma four minutes before the end.
That left the Millers' controversial manager, Steve Evans, fuming on the touchline and exchanging views loudly with Rowett near the end.
But the Burton manager laughed off the exchange.
"It's always friendly – from our side!" he said.
"They're always competitive games against Steve Evans' sides. You know it will be an aggressive game and that they'll be strong.
"I have a lot of respect for Steve. He's achieved a lot more in the game than I have.
"Stuff goes on at the side. It's just passion and commitment. You're throwing your whole self into the 90 minutes.
"Everyone's desperate to win and it manifests itself in lots of ways. I got frustrated at Barnet and said a few things I probably shouldn't have said, so I won't hold it against anyone."