Peterborough United boss Grant McCann expects Northampton Town to be far tougher derby opposition second time around when the teams clash at Sixfields on Saturday (November 19, 3pm)..
Posh eased to a 3-0 success over the Cobblers in their League One clash at the ABAX Stadium last month, but an unusually quick return fixture five weeks later will provide a severe examination of the new-found confidence in McCann’s men.
That’s what McCann has warned his players, but he remains optimistic of collecting another three points for a Posh side who will start the game in fifth place, three places and two points clear of their deadliest rivals, following an excellent 1-0 win over promotion rivals Bolton at the ABAX Stadium last weekend (November 12).
“It will be a completely different game,” McCann stated. “Northampton were missing a couple of key men at our place and that won’t be the case on Saturday.
“The first meeting will have no bearing on the second one. If we go there thinking we will win easily again we will get into trouble.
“Northampton are a good side with a strong home record and we will need to show the same resolution, character and ability we showed against Bolton last weekend to get the result we want.
“The players are aware of that and they have been made aware again of the importance of this fixture in particular, to the fans and to the club in general.
“The game at the ABAX was a great experience. The atmosphere was special and it will be the same at Sixfields. This is a big game for both teams, especially as we are both in and around the promotion places.
“I expect us to play well though. We are showing good form and we will be ready for what will be a very tough challenge.”
McCann is likely to field an unchanged side against Cobblers. He’s sees a settled side as vital to Posh’s chances of getting to the Championship, particularly at the back.
“Ryan Tafazolli has started to show why we were so keen to get him in the summer,” McCann added. “He was unlucky to pick up an injury on the first day of the season, but he’s picked up his form in recent games.
“He’s a strong defender, but he’s not bad on the ball either and his partnership with Jack Baldwin is really coming on.
“I’m very happy with the consistency shown by Michael Smith and Andrew Hughes in the full-back positions as well, and we have an excellent goalkeeper.
“They will all need to be on their game on Saturday though and I’m confident they will be.”