Craig Mackail-Smith admits he’s always wanted to come back to Peterborough United and claim his 100th goal for the club.
The Posh legend returned to London Road in a shock loan move from Championship side Brighton yesterday (November 26). He will play his first game for Posh since the League One play-off final win against Huddersfield at Old Trafford in May 2011 in tomorrow’s (November 28) televised League One clash with leaders Bristol City at the ABAX Stadium.
Mackail-Smith is initially on loan at Posh until the end of December. He returned from a 13-month injury lay-off at the back end of last season.
Mackail-Smith scored his 99th goal for Posh in that play-off final. He will be re-united tomorrow with Aaron Mclean - they formed one of the deadliest strike pairings in Posh history in a four-year spell under the management of Darren Ferguson between 2007-2011.
“It’s weird coming back here,” Mackail-Smith stated. “It was always in the back of my mind to come back here one day and claim my 100th goal, but this move came a bit out of the blue.
“I had decided I needed to go out on loan as I need games and I wasn’t likely to get that at Brighton as they signed another striker (Darren Bent). To be honest Peterborough should be perfect for me as I know the club, I know the manager and I will be playing with a striker who I know very well.
“I had a lot of success with Aaron in the past. We’re good mates, we used to room together and we got on well on the pitch. I hope we click just as well tomorrow.
“I’m here for a month initially and I haven’t thought beyond that. At the moment I want to get some minutes on the pitch, which will then help me get into the Brighton team. I still want to play in the Championship, but before then I want to help get Peterborough back on a roll.
“It’s an exciting move for me in many ways. Darren Ferguson was a massive help to me earlier in my career and I know how he works and what he will expect of me.
“I feel sharp now, but I will get sharper with the more minutes I play. I was a long time out when I ruptured my achilles, but I’m fit and ready do myself justice.
“I loved playing football at Peterborough before and I’m sure I will again.”
Posh boss Darren Ferguson was taken by surprise by Mackail-Smith’s arrival, but he is thrilled by the prospect of restoring his ‘Mac Attack’.
Ferguson insists the return of two strikers the wrong side of 30 will not harm the careers of the young strikers already at the club. He pretty much confirmed they would both start tomorrow’s match against Bristol City.
“I can’t see a negative in having either Aaron or Craig back at this club,” Ferguson insisted. “The fact that they were so successful here before makes them a bit different to most loan signings. I could have signed hundreds of strikers on loan, but I know these two so well. I know what they will bring to the club, to their team-mates and to the fans - they know the club’s DNA
“The place will be rocking tomorrow with these two in our side. They will give the whole club a lift.
“The other strikers at the club will also learn from them, most importantly they will notice how hungry how both of them are to score goals.
“Aaron and Craig were outstanding players at the club in the past and now they will be mature and more tactically aware. They have played for different coaches and managers and that can only help them.
“I’m not sure how long they will both be here, but I’ve told them the move will benefit them and the club. Aaron has had a bad time at Bradford, while Craig suffered the bad injury at Brighton so playing for us could get their careers back on track.
“I’m surprised how quickly Craig’s move happened. I said yesterday that I didn’t expect any more loan players and I truly believed that. I knew Barry Fry (Posh director of football) had spoken to Brighton yesterday morning, but I didn’t believe it would happen as Brighton have never wanted to let Craig out on loan before.
“Craig wouldn’t have moved to any other League One club.”
Related: The Mac Attack is back!