LIVE: The Sky Bet Football League Play-Offs 2014
By Tony Leighton
Burton Albion manager Gary Rowett is using the bitter disappointment of last season's failure in the Play-Offs of Sky Bet League 2 as motivation for himself and his team as he looks to inspire the Brewers to complete an aggregate victory over Southend United in Saturday's second leg of the semi-final at Roots Hall.
Rowett's side hold a 1-0 lead from the first leg, just as they did 12 months ago after winning 3-2 at Bradford City - but the second leg was lost 3-1 at the Pirelli Stadium, where the Brewers were perhaps set up too defensively.
"You learn lessons from occasions like that," Rowett told football-league.co.uk. "In our second leg last year we had the unfortunate situation of two central defenders being unavailable and we played 4-5-1, which we hadn't played at home before during the whole of the season.
"I've felt since that game that if we got into this [Play-Off] position again we would be more positive, and that will be the message to the players.
"We are not going to sit back and just defend. There are going to be some key elements of our defensive work which will need to be very good, and we'll defend as a team like we always do. But we've got to go and attack as well - and if we score the first goal it will give Southend a very difficult proposition."
Rowett has a difficult proposition himself with regards team selection, as just like last year he has players unavailable for the second leg - most crucially perhaps captain Ian Sharps as the central defender was sent off in the first leg.
Sharps is only one of several players who are likely to be missing at Roots Hall, however. "It's got to the point where five or six regular first team players are not available," added Rowett, "but I've talked about the squad all season and we've had players who have come into the side and done well. That's prepared us.
"The great thing for us is that we've got the goal lead and we know that if we don't concede then we'll go through - but I can't see the game being nil-nil and so we've got to be as ambitious as we always are in terms of our attacking threat.
"We've got ourselves into a position where Southend have got to play very well to win the tie, but we know they're capable of doing that.
"That won't change our mentality, though - we've got an advantage and we're very positive and very confident going into this second leg."
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