MATCH PREVIEW: McCann insists season is far from over

Posh forward Paul Taylor is a fitness doubt for the trip to Gillingham.
Posh forward Paul Taylor is a fitness doubt for the trip to Gillingham.
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Manager Grant McCann insists Peterborough United’s season is far from over.

Posh are stuck in the middle of the League One table ahead of tomorrow’s trip to relegation-threatened Gillingham (March 25).

Posh centre-back Ryan Tafazolli is set to miss the Gillingham match.

Posh centre-back Ryan Tafazolli is set to miss the Gillingham match.

McCann’s men are eight points from the play-off places and 11 points clear of the relegation game with just seven games to go.

Gillingham manager Adrian Pennock has described tomorrow’s match as ‘crucial’ for his side, but McCann claims it’s just as important for his team as they seek a strong finish to a frustrating season.

Gillingham have the worst defensive record in League One and McCann is keen to exploit any hesitancy in the home back four.

“I’m not interested in Gillingham’s predicament,” McCann stated. “Tomorrow’s game is just as important for us.

Posh striker Junior Morias scoring against Oldham.

Posh striker Junior Morias scoring against Oldham.

“It’s a seven-game season for us and the aim is the same as its always been - that’s to pick up as many points as possible.

“To an outsider looking in, we still have a chance of the play-offs. The gap is just eight points and that’s a gap that can be closed in seven matches.

“But we need to win games. We’ve drawn the last two when wins would have seen us four points off the top six.

“Gillingham have had some defensive problems, but it’s still a hard place to go. What we must do is be in a position to take advantage of any defensive frailties they show.

“I want to see us create chances and score goals, It’s what this team should be about. I also want to see us start better. We’ve been conceding the first goal far too often lately. We have a good record of winning games after we have scored the first goal.”

On-loan Spurs goalkeeper Luke McGee is expected to return to the starting line-up tomorrow after he was rested from last Saturday’s (March 18) 1-1 draw against Oldham.

But central defender Ryan Tafazolli and forward Paul Taylor are both struggling with hamstring problems.

McCann must also choose between top scorer Tom Nichols and Junior Morias to partner Craig Mackail-Smith up front. Morias saved the day with an equalising goal against Oldham after replacing Nichols.

“Junior has been banging on the door for a while now,” McCann added. “But Tom and Craig have also been on the scoresheet lately so it’s a tough decision for me.

“Luke needed his rest and he returned to the squad yesterday looking very bright and bubbly.”

Marcus Maddison is expected to replace Taylor at the tip of a midfield diamond.

McCann will also be keen to improve his own statistics tomorrow. Posh are averaging 1.33 points per game during his spell as permanent manager. Graham Westley’s Posh were averaging 1.36 points per League One match when he was sacked 12 months ago,