Manager Dave Robertson is backing Luke James to become a star Peterborough United player after the striker broke his League One goal-scoring duck for the club today (March 14).
James struck the crucial opening goal in the 2-0 win at Doncaster Rovers which strengthened the Posh push for the play-offs. Conor Washington added the second goal in the 89th minute as Posh moved up to seventh place - they are outside the play-off places only on goal difference after a fourth win in a row under Robertson.
Robertson has equalled Johnny Anderson’s 51-year-old Posh record of winning his first four matches as the club’s manager, but it was James who provided the day’s most heart-warming story.
The 20 year-old scored on his debut for Posh in a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy defeat on September 2, but hadn’t scored in any of his 26 subsequent appearances for the club.
Yet his attitude and commitment has made him a firm fans’ favourite and there was an eruption of joy among the 2,300 travelling supporters and the Posh coaching and playing staff after James had headed Posh in front in the 18th minute.
“Everyone loves Luke,” Robertson insisted. “He is as hard a working player as you will ever come across. He plays for the team, his commitment and effort never waver and his enthusiasm is infectious. That’s why we went a little bit crazy when he scored.
“There has been a little mental barrier for him because he’s a striker who wants to score goals, but this will hopefully give him a platform to go on and become a top goalscorer for this club. It’s onwards and upwards for him from now on and we couldn’t be happier for him. He’s a great lad and he deserves success in the game.
“His goal was a big moment in the game, but I said to our goalkeeper Ben Alnwick in the changing room after the match that his save towards the end won us the game. It was a remarkable moment because 25 seconds after his save, Kyle Vassell is bursting through two challenges and setting Conor up for the second goal, but it was the save that created the moment. Ben has been absolutely outstanding for me and he played the two previous games with a neck injury which no-one knew about.
“Pivotal moments like Ben’s save win football matches, but this was another terrific team effort. We defended magnificently as we knew we would have to against a very good footballing side.
“It was an excellent away performance. We kept a clean sheet, we looked dangerous on the counter attack and our wingers caused their defenders no end of problems. We were dogged and we were disciplined.
I challenged the players beforehand to manage the crowd. We knew we would have over 2,300 fans at the game and we were determined to give them plenty to get excited about. The team were different class in the way they played, but the fans were even better!
“We have some great momentum with us know and the challenge now is to keep this run going for as long as possible. I have some great staff working with me in Grant McCann and Aaron Mclean and everyone on and off the field is buying into what we are trying to do.
“This is another game we can take a lot of confidence from. We will move onto the next game now with plenty of desire and spirit and see where it takes us.”
Posh have a tough game on Tuesday (March 17) at second-placed Preston. Preston have won seven of their last eight League One matches.