Burton Albion stalwart Aaron Webster tells Chris Burton that the Brewers can overcome their wobble.
Last Updated: 02/03/12 5:33pm
Can you remember what you were doing at 5pm on Boxing Day 2011?
Burton Albion can because that was the last time they toasted a three-point haul in League Two.
A festive victory over Northampton Town saw the Brewers cement their standing among the top-seven, with a promotion push very much on the cards.
Fast forward to 2nd March and the Pirelli Stadium picture has altered dramatically.
Ten games have come and gone without success, with an alarming wobble dropping Burton out of the play-off places and into the bottom half of the table.
The dawn of a new year has not been kind to Paul Peschisolido's side, with the club still searching for their first win of 2012.
A dramatic dip in form has been difficult to stomach, especially for those who have spent much of their time on the outside looking in.
Club stalwart Aaron Webster falls into that category, with an untimely injury having prevented him from offering the services of his vast experience to the Burton cause.
The 31-year-old is closing on a return to action, though, and has told Sky Sports' Chris Burton that he is determined to play his part in turning the Brewers' fortunes around.
He said: "The injury is fine now. I pulled my hamstring a few weeks ago but I have been back in full training with the team this week so we'll see if I am selected for tomorrow (Saturday's home date with Southend United).
"When the scan results came back it was expected that I would be out for six weeks but I have come back in three-and-a-half to four weeks. The rehab has gone quite quick. Being back ahead of schedule has been a bonus for me and the manager as well, because we haven't been picking up results recently.
"It's tough being injured and having to watch your mates lose and not pick up the results they have deserved. I am just happy to be back in the picture to help with the spirit of the boys and hopefully we will soon get back to winning ways."
Webster admits that a 10-match winless run has done little for morale inside the Burton camp, but is adamant that confidence has not been knocked beyond repair.
He said: "When you are winning you get used to it and it's the same when you are losing. When you are stuck in a rut it can be difficult to get out of, but the confidence is still there. If you saw us in training, the lads are buzzing around, we just need to do that more in games. Defeats can knock people's confidence, but the only way we are going to get rid of that is to get back to winning. We are all prepared to help each other out there, so hopefully it will start to turn tomorrow."
Burton can consider themselves unfortunate to have suffered a blip during a testing run of fixtures, with games against high-fliers such as Swindon Town, Cheltenham Town and Oxford United leaving no margin for error.
On their current run, Webster added: "We have played teams that are up there, but a couple of months ago we were a team that were up there as well. We can't feel too bad about ourselves, we are a good team as well. We haven't won for 10 games but you don't turn into a bad team overnight. We just have to battle out of this winless streak. We have got some tough games coming up - Southend tomorrow, Port Vale on Tuesday and Shrewsbury next week. But we are a good team as well so we can't give anyone too much respect."
Weekend opponents Southend also occupy a lofty standing in the fourth tier table, but the game will be staged at the Pirelli Stadium and Burton know they must start picking up points on home soil.
Webster said: "The Pirelli Stadium is normally a fortress but it hasn't been of late. We are turning in good performances in the first 45 minutes of games but we aren't doing it for 90. That's our job tomorrow, start well, put Southend on the back foot and play well for the full 90 minutes. We need to have a bit more consistency in the performance."
Asked if one result, possibly against the Shrimpers, could turn their season around, Webster added: "I think so. We have just got stuck in a rut. You can go on a winning streak but play badly, you get the knack and you know how to win. We are just in a bad run at the minute, so tomorrow will be another chance to get out of it. We have to remember that we were fourth in the league a few months ago and not feel too bad about ourselves. We are all good players and we need to show that in games."
While they may have tumbled down the division over recent weeks, Burton remain within eight points of the play-off places and Webster claims the club are refusing to give up on their efforts to join the promotion-chasing pack.
He said: "I think there are always teams that have good runs in this league, teams like Morecambe last year. If you get on a good run you can surge up the league. Maybe four or five wins in a row, which we are capable of doing, could take us back up the league. That is what we are looking to do and we aren't giving up on the play-offs. We have just got to get back to winning ways and confidence will come with that and see us push back up the table."
Anything better than last season's 19th-place finish could be considered a step in the right direction for Burton, but Webster insists they are setting their sights a lot higher than that.
He said: "You can look at it that way, but just to finish above 19th isn't a good season when you consider that we were fourth in the league in December. That wouldn't be a good season, I think we would look back on it and feel disappointed. We have to just get back up the league and play like we were earlier in the season. If we can do that, everyone will forget about this run."
Webster is of the opinion that the Brewers have taken another step in the right direction this season, with impressive progress having been made on and off the field since he made his first team debut back in 1998.
He said: "I have said it each year that I have been at the club, the club progresses every year, as does the playing staff. We are looking to bring in better players each year and I think you get that with doing well in the league. Last year we didn't do very well, but as a football club we are progressing. In the summer we brought in better players and got ourselves to fourth in the league at one point.
"It's another step but we aren't just going to settle for finishing a bit higher than last year, we want to build on it. We will look to progress again and in the summer the manager and the chairman will sit down and work out a way to take the club on again. It's a natural progression that has happened every year in the 14 or 15 years that I have been here.
"It's slowly but surely. You see clubs with financial troubles and a club like Burton Albion will never have problems like that because the chairman has got his head screwed on and knows what he is doing, he has been in the job long enough. There isn't a massive budget like teams like Crawley, we aren't really a big club, but are looking to do our thing and we were on the verge of automatic promotion at one stage. We are heading in the right direction."
As Burton have clambered through the divisions, into the Football League and consolidated themselves in League Two, Webster has been with them every step of the way.
He is closing in on two notable milestones as a result and is hoping he will pass both before the 2011/12 campaign comes to a close.
He said: "I think I have made 500-odd appearances for the club, but I have got 500 starts coming up. Hopefully I won't get injured again before the end of the season and I can reach that mark. I am on 99 goals as well and I have been stuck on that for the last three months, so hopefully I can notch another one soon."