PREVIEW: McCann insists he will defy the critics

Posh boss Grant McCann is in a defiant mood.

Posh boss Grant McCann is in a defiant mood.

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Peterborough United manager Grant McCann is determined to defy the critics who believe the club’s push for the League One play-offs is already over.

Patched-up Posh suffered a demoralising 4-1 home defeat by promotion contenders Southend United on Tuesday (February 21) to set alarm bells ringing in the fanbase.

Posh midfielder Gwion Edwards is stretchered off at Walsall.

Posh midfielder Gwion Edwards is stretchered off at Walsall.

Because of injuries and suspensions to key players, McCann will be forced to send out another under-strength side to face another top League One team, Rochdale, at the ABAX Stadium on Saturday (February 25).

And the fixtures don’t get any easier after the weekend as games against high-fliers Millwall, Bradford City and Oxford are on the horizon.

Posh have lost six of their 10 League One games in 2017, but are still just five points off a play-off place.

“Some people might have given up already, but I haven’t,” McCann insisted.

“And I will make sure my players fight until it’s mathematically impossible to succeed.

“We are only five points adrift of where we need to be and there are still 13 games to go. It’s not that big a gap, but we can’t let it get any bigger.

“We have another tough game against Rochdale on Saturday. We are in the middle of a tough run of games, but to my mind they are good games for us to have.

“They are crucial games. Any points we take off our nearest rivals are important.”

Posh have lost midfielder Gwion Edwards, one of the stars of the season, to a knee ligament injury. He is expected to miss the rest of the season, unless Posh make the play-offs.

“Gwion’s injury wasn’t as bad as we feared,” McCann added. “It’s seven-to-eight weeks out rather than seven-to-eight months. He would be back for the play-offs.”

Midfielders Chris Forrester and Anthony Grant complete their two-match suspensions on Saturday. They will be available for the trip to Millwall next Tuesday (February 28).