Caretaker-manager Grant McCann was coy about his own Peterborough United future during the first club press conference following the weekend dismissal of boss Dave Robertson.
McCann has been told he is managing the team in their League One fixture at Oldham on Saturday (September 12). Beyond that he has no idea where he will be or what he will be doing.
McCann, a firm fans’ favourite throughout his Posh playing career, has been working as assistant manager to Robertson this season. He insists he is not thinking about his own future beyond the trip to Boundary Park.
The Northern Irishman is today (September 8) 12/1 fourth favorite with Sky Bet to land the Posh manager’s job on a permanent basis behind favourite Steve Evans, Graham Westley and current Burton Albion manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
“Hand on heart, the bookies’ odds mean nothing to me,” McCann, who stated in the summer that he was too inexperienced to be a first-team boss, said. “My focus is entirely on getting the team ready to play Oldham.
“Beyond that I have no idea where I will be. I have been thrown into this situation and I will do everything I can to make it work for the football club.
“Obviously I do hope that the players respond to me and that we get a couple of good results because the club needs them. I’ve been in this situation as a player and it’s never a good feeling when a manager loses his job and we have now lost two in a matter of months,
“All I can say is that I am far more experienced now than the last time a manager left. I have spoken to the chairman and he told me I needed to galvanise the players ahead of the Oldham game and that’s what I will do.
“It’s not an ideal situation for me because Dave Robertson is the man who brought me back to this club and he is a friend. He is a top man though and he was the first person to contact me and say that if anyone can get the best out of this group of players it is me and that was really nice of him.
“It’s such a shame that a man who has given 11 years to the club has lost his job because of a few bad results.
“It’s not just the manager who has made mistakes though. We’ve all made mistakes and we all need to take responsibility and put it right.
“Players shouldn’t seek respect, they need to earn it.”
McCann was a stylish play-maker in his on-field days and he will ensure that Posh play in an expansive, attractive style while he is in charge of the team. He will be assisted in training this week by current player Jack Collison and former Posh star David Farrell. Farrell, who works as head of health and education in the club’s community department, will be in the dug-out at Oldham.
“Playing a good passing game is in my genes,” McCann added. “It’s the only way I can play the game and that has already been instilled into the players.
“I will be the first to admit that I gave the ball away lots of times in my Posh career, but I always wanted to get back on the ball as soon as possible. That’s what I want from this team. I won’t have players hiding in training or in matches.
“If I see players hiding in training they won’t be picked for the team. If they hide in matches I will haul them straight off.
“The strikers at the club would be the first to tell you that they are not physically suited to challenge for headers from long balls so I want to play a game to suit them. That means getting them to run in behind or be ready to accept the ball at their feet.
“I want my wingers to get on the ball as often as possible. I want my mifielders to be looking for the ball at all times, I will tell my goalkeeper there is no point in delivering high balls to the strikers or the wingers.
“Most importantly I want us to play as a team. It’s not about the name on the back of the shirt, it’s about the badge on the front.
“We can’t hide behind the fact that we have a young squad because a lot of League One sides can say the same. All the players need to grow up and accept any criticism that comes their way.
“When I first came to the club I was made captain and in the dressing room I found a whole load of players like Mackail-Smith, Mclean, Boyd, Charlie Lee and Chris Whelpdale who knew what it meant to play for Peterborough United. I want to see that passion for the club again.
“I had that conversation with the players today and to be fair to them they responded. Training will be fun, but it will be hard and the players were very impressive in today’s session.
“Every player has a fresh start now. We can’t affect the past, but we can affect the future, starting at Oldham on Saturday.”