MATCH PREVIEW: Fighting talk from manager McCann

Fighting talk from Posh manager Grant McCann.
Fighting talk from Posh manager Grant McCann.

Peterborough United boss Grant McCann has come out fighting as he attempts to get the club’s League One promotion bid back on track.

It’s three embarrassing defeats in the last four matches for Posh, form that has promoted some critics to write the club’s promotion chances off completely.

Andrew Hughes (right) could return for Posh at Port Vale.

Andrew Hughes (right) could return for Posh at Port Vale.

But that, according to McCann, would be a big mistake.

“To write us off now would be very wrong,” McCann insisted. “We are four points off the play-offs and we have 18 games to go.

“I accept fans have the right to criticise, but the players have reacted well to the blow of losing heavily at home to MK Dons last Saturday (January 28). They are hurting, but they’ve pulled together - they have been out bowling together this week - and they will stay together.

“If fans want to keep having a pop at us then fair enough. It will make us stronger.

New Posh signings Craig Mackail-Smith (right) and Anthony Grant playing against each other for Posh and Southend in 2009. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

New Posh signings Craig Mackail-Smith (right) and Anthony Grant playing against each other for Posh and Southend in 2009. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

“Obviously we need to be strong and we need to improve on recent displays, but this squad was good enough to get us into the top six before Christmas and it will be good enough to get us back there.

“This time last season Barnsley and Scunthorpe were both six points worse off than we are now. Barnsley ended up winning the League One play-offs while Scunthorpe just finished outside the top six.

“Form changes all the time and there are always a couple of team who finish the season stronger than anyone else. There is no reason why that shouldn’t be us this season.

“Expectations have been high this season and maybe they’ve too high for some players. I’ve been as much to blame as anyomne for that.

“But they are not so high now and maybe that will now help us. No-one at this club believes our season is over, There are just too many point still to play for.”

New signings Anthony Grant and Craig Mackail-Smith will be in the matchday squad for Saturday’s (February 4) League One trip to Port Vale.

Michael Bostwick has been ruled out for a month after breaking his jaw in last Saturday’s dismal defeat.

On-loan Rotherham Dominic Ball is expected to return to the starting line-up alongside Ryan Tafazolli at the heart of the Posh defence.

Left-back Andrew Hughes is fit again after illness kept him out of the Dons’ debacle.