Maddison doubtful, but Taylor and Alnwick return

Jon Taylor in action for the Posh Development XI against Luton.
Jon Taylor in action for the Posh Development XI against Luton.
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Marcus Maddison is a doubt for tomorrow’s (February 14) League One clash with Rochdale at The ABAX Stadium

The club’s top scorer completed 90 minutes in Tuesday’s (February 10) home defeat by Gillingham despite picking up a knee injury early in the match.

He will be assessed by Posh medical staff today (February 13). His injury is not thought to be serious, but he may need need to miss another game on the heavy Posh playing surface to ensure he can play at League One leaders Bristol City on Tuesday (February 17).

Posh manager Darren Ferguson said: “Marcus is a doubt for Saturday, but we will know more today. It’s nothing too serious, but his knee stiffened up after the game and we need that to ease before we could consider playing him.

“He picked up the injury early in the Gillingam game, but at half-time he insisted he was fine. I left him on as he is always likely to create something out of nothing.”

It’s not all bad news on the injury front as livewire attacking midfielder Jon Taylor and goalkeeper Ben Alwnick are both back in the first-team squad. Taylor hasn’t played since November 15, but came through a 45-minute run-out for the Development XI this week as did Alnwick, who hasn’t played since January 10.

Alnwick is likely to start tomorrow as it would have been on-loan ‘keeper Scott Loach’s last game for the club anyway. Loach is expected to return to Rotherham after helping Posh emerge from a dreadful run of results.

Taylor’s chances of a start would increase if Maddison was absent, but it’s understood Ferguson wants to use Taylor as a striker. He played up front in the Development XI’s 2-0 win over Luton on Wednesday (November 11).

Erhun Oztumer is the most obvious direct replacement for Maddison, although Joe Newell could play in his position which would mean a recall for Kgosi Ntlhe as a left wing-back.

Ferguson is expecting an open, entertaining encounter against Rochdale who have one of the best away records in the division. Dale’s 32 away goals is the best in League One.

Ferguson said: “Rochdale play a very expansive style which I think could help us. They play 4-3-3 and rotate their forward players very well so it’s important we get control of the ball early on, just like we did against Gillingham. I’ve watched that game back and we were very good in the opening 30 minutes - we just couldn’t buy a goal.

“Rochdale are a very young side with good energies. They’ve done very well since winning promotion last season and I’m expecting an open, entertaining game.”

Ferguson still hasn’t given up hope of signing an ‘experienced player with a good knowledge of the game who is good in the dressing room’ ahead of tomorrow’s game. “I’m just waiting on a phone call,” Ferguson added.