'No pressure' on Brewers as they attempt to stay in race for top spots, says Rowett
AFTER a disappointing New Year's Day defeat at York City and last week's FA Cup exit, Burton Albion embark on the second half of their League Two season in earnest at home to Torquay United tomorrow.
But manager Gary Rowett does not quite see it that way, believing that the Brewers can approach their remaining 20 games without pressure.
"When you take into account that all the Cup games are out of the way, we're probably two-thirds of the way through the season already," said Rowett.
"We've got ourselves into a good position and the challenge now is to stay in there.
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"Other clubs are thinking the same and some of them will spend a lot more than us in really going for it.
"So, the way I see it, there's no real pressure.
"We just have to keep doing what we've been doing and see where it takes us."
Rowett and his assistant, Kevin Summerfield, are always looking to learn and improve how things are done and, this week, the squad have embarked on a different training schedule.
The players were given the day off yesterday – when they have previously trained – and will have only a light session today.
There was also a light session on Monday – but especially tough days of training on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"A lot of clubs take Thursday off, so we're trying it," said Rowett.
"Kev has a friend at Glasgow Rangers and it's also how they work.
"It works particularly well when you have a spell without midweek games, as we have now.
"You have 48 hours either side of games when the players are either off or in a light session so, hopefully, they come to the games fresh.
"I've looked at a lot of stuff on recovery times and we'll try it and see how it goes."
As has so often been the case of late, the Brewers face, in Torquay, a side like themselves, a couple of good results away from consolidating a place in the play-off slots.
Torquay are six points behind Burton with two games in hand.
"I think they are a similar club to us," said Rowett.
"They're always trying to maximise what they've got and I think both clubs have done really well to survive and have relative success in the Football League.
"Torquay have often finished the season quite well, so we will be treating them with plenty of respect."
Rowett will welcome back centre-half Zander Diamond after two games out with illness and is waiting to see if right-back Anthony O'Connor, who came off with a slight hamstring problem at York, will be able to return.
There is also a doubt over leading scorer Calvin Zola, who has not trained all week because of a sore groin.
Rowett has Matt Paterson waiting in the wings for a chance up front if Zola does not make it and says Paterson has been unlucky.
"He partnered Calvin really well early in the season but didn't do so well alongside Billy Kee or Justin Richards," said Rowett.
"He's not been judged on that. But then he got injured for a while as well. He's been a bit frustrated as a result but there will be opportunities for him."