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Alexander demands competitive edge

18 December 2013

Town stumble at second round replay

Graham Alexander was left utterly disappointed with Town’s performance in the FA Cup Second Round replay at Burton Albion.

The Cod Army slipped out of the competition after Billy Kee – the late goalscorer in the reversal at Highbury under a fortnight ago - struck once again to send the Brewers through 1-0.

Antoni Sarcevic was unfortunate not to receive a penalty when fouled in the Burton penalty box in the second half, although Alexander blamed the defeat on a poor performance.

“It was very disappointing,” Alexander said. “The first forty-five minutes was none-existent from us. We didn’t compete and ask any questions of their back four.  We brought the problems onto ourselves and gave Burton the goal. 

“In the second half we upped the tempo and competed, and that’s all we ask. You can never come off your competitive edge and work rate and I thought we came off that against Burton. That’s the biggest disappointment for me because we’ve let ourselves down.”

The Town boss could not pinpoint why his side failed to turn up at the Pirelli Stadium.

“Maybe it was a game that we didn’t believe we should be playing  because of how we threw the first game away,” he said.  “Maybe it’s because we’ve played four games in four days. Whatever the reasons, you can’t let it happen.”

Alexander made three changes to the side that beat Rochdale 2-1 at Spotland over the weekend, bringing in Ryan Cresswell, Stewart Murdoch and Emmanuel Dieseruvwe.

And he warned that no player’s place in the side is safe ahead of their final fixture before Christmas against Cheltenham Town on Saturday.

“We’ve got players who are itching to get into the team. Some came in (against Burton) and they’ve got to take their chance when they get it. Nobody is guaranteed a place in the team.”

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