League Two play-off semi-final: Gary Rowett not resting on laurels as Burton defend slender lead


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The Independent Football

Gary Rowett, the Burton Albion manager, believes the League Two play-off semi-final against Southend is too close to call. Albion head to Essex holding a 1-0 lead thanks to Adam McGurk's goal in the first leg at the Pirelli Stadium last weekend.

They play for the right to meet Fleetwood at Wembley on 26 May after Graham Alexander's side held York to a 0-0 draw at Highbury Stadium last night to win 1-0 on aggregate.

The two sides face their third meeting in a fortnight, with Southend having beaten Burton 1-0 at Roots Hall on the final day of the regular season.Rowett admitted: "I think both teams will be quite happy after the first leg, if I'm honest. Southend are not going to be too disappointed at being a goal down.

"Yes, it's going to give us an advantage, it gives us a bit more clarity of what we've got to do but, also, they know they've got to score goals to beat us and win the tie.

"So, I don't think it changes too much and it certainly won't detract from our focus of what we've got to do.

"It's more about being positive in your outlook. Going into the first game we knew our home form had been very good over the past couple of years. Going into the second game we know that if we don't concede a goal we're not going to lose, so it's as simple as that. But what I don't think we can do is go down there and simply look to defend for the whole game.

"At the moment what we've planned for has gone quite well and we're quite pleased with it. The second part of the plan has always been in place and we've got to make sure we carry it out."

Burton will be without defender Ian Sharps, who was sent off last Sunday, while McGurk is struggling with a groin injury. Southend captain John White is a doubt with a thigh problem and midfielder Michael Timlin has an ankle problem.

Manager Phil Brown is confident his side can overturn the deficit. He told the club website: "We were pleased with the performance but not the result last weekend, and there were definitely positives to take from the game. No one has ever won a game of football at half-time, and we're now coming into the second half at Roots Hall, which I believe will favour us."