MATCH PREVIEW: No more excuses for Peterborough United

Craig Mackail-Smith belongs at Posh.
Craig Mackail-Smith belongs at Posh.
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The time for excuses is over at Peterborough United.

Manager Grant McCann has kept the players he wanted to keep for the rest of the season and made a couple of additions to a squad he insists is still well placed to make a run at the League One play-off places.

Anthony Grant (left) should make his Posh debut at his former club.

Anthony Grant (left) should make his Posh debut at his former club.

Posh are four points off the top six with 18 matches to play starting at Port Vale tomorrow (February 4).

McCann is expected to start his new signings Craig Mackail-Smith and Anthony Grant. Grant transferred to the ABAX from Vale on deadline day.

“I have the same group now until the end of the season which is a very positive thing,” McCann stated. “The distractions of the January transfer window are over and I am excited by the business we have done.

“It’s massive for me not to have lost any players in January and the additions we have made will have a great impact. I’m excited about the squad I now have.

Posh boss Grant McCann was down in the dumps last weekend.

Posh boss Grant McCann was down in the dumps last weekend.

“We have no excuses now. I’ll try and improve the group on the training field and if I can do that performances will improve as well.

“The transfer window was no excuse for the way we played in January. We have been poor, but the reality is we are nine points behind third place and that’s gap we can bridge.

“Craig Mackail-Smith belongs at this club. It’s like Billy Sharp at Sheffield United, certain players are a just a perfect fit for certain clubs.

“And we have signed a real character in Anthony Grant. He’s perfect for the way I want to play. He’s a good footballer, but he’s also an aggressive player with a nasty streak, something we’ve lacked in recent seasons.

Andrew Hughes (right) is facing a fight to be fit for the Port Vale match.

Andrew Hughes (right) is facing a fight to be fit for the Port Vale match.

“Anthony is looking forward to going back to Vale. I’m sure he’ll receive a warm reception, but I’m also sure it won’t bother him. It’s a fluke of the fixtures that his first game for us will be at the club he has just left, but he’s a veteran of 400 games so he will have been back to former clubs on plenty of occasions.”

Vale are 18th in League One, nine places and nine points behind Posh, but they have an impressive home record with 25 of their 32 points arriving at Vale Park.

The Posh task has been made tougher by the absence of, arguably, their player-of-the-season Michael Bostwick with a broken jaw. First-choice left-back Andrew Hughes is struggling with a dead leg, but was due to train today (February 3).

“It’s always a battle at Vale Park,” McCann added. “It’s one of the biggest playing surfaces in the country which should suit us, but we need to get back to doing what we are good at, and that’s moving the ball quickly, while playing at a quick tempo.”