Resilient Posh seek to improve further

Posh skipper Jack Payne could return to the starting line-up to face his old club, Gillingham.
Posh skipper Jack Payne could return to the starting line-up to face his old club, Gillingham.
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Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson admits results have been better than performances during their current three-match unbeaten run.

But the Posh boss insists that’s a positive reflection on his team’s resilience and determination as they attempt to keep in the League One play-off picture.

Posh hope to continue their improvement when Gillingham visit the ABAX Stadium tonight (February 10, 7.45am), but it’s sure to be another tough test against in-form opposition on a much-maligned playing surface.

Ferguson is still expected to freshen up his Posh side despite deciding against an immediate foray into the loan transfer marker which opened for business yesterday (February 9). Centre-back Gaby Zakuani will not return from the African Nations Cup in time to take part against Gillingham, but skipper Jack Payne can expect a recall to face his old club, probably at the expense of Jermaine Anderson.

Posh have cash available as it’s understood that Nottingham Forest have finally paid the £1.5 million they owed on the August transfer of Britt Assombalonga.

Posh beat Notts County (2-1) and Yeovil (1-0) before drawing at Fleetwood (1-1) last Saturday (February 7). Gillingham are unbeaten in their last four League One matches since sacking manager Peter Taylor and beat promotion fancies Sheffield United 2-0 at the weekend - new boss Justin Edinburgh takes official charge for the first time tonight.

“There were some good things and some things we can improve on from the performance at Fleetwood,” Ferguson stated. “We haven’t played great in all three matches in our unbeaten run, but we have dug in and shown some character. After the bad run we had it did all become about getting some wins and we’ve achieved that.

“Our confidence is slowly returning and I’m sure the performances will follow. We came under the cosh at times at Fleetwood, as we did in the other two games, but we came through it when a month ago we might not have done. We had a de-brief of the Fleetwood game yesterday and discussed the things we must do better like being more aggressive in possession.

“We face another tough test now against a team who had a great win over a very strong Sheffield United side at the weekend. I don’t think the fact they have a new manager will affect much tonight as they are clearly playing well anyway.

“They have good players like Cody McDonald who is an excellent finisher at this level, but my players are already well aware of their strengths.

“The pitch will be a factor and it might be that we have to adjust our game slightly. You have to use common sense, but at the end of the day it’s two teams playing on the same pitch.

“The pitch is certainly not an advantage for us, but there are a lot of bad pitches out there and you have to get on with it.”

Posh will not risk winger Jon Taylor tonight, but he may play some part in a Development XI home fixture against Luton on Wednesday (February 11). Taylor is recovering from knee surgery.

Goalkeeper Ben Alnwick could join Taylor in returning for the home game with Rochdale on Saturday (February 14) so on-loan number one Scott Loach could make his final Posh appearance tonight.

Posh striker Kyle Vassell had a scan on his injured ankle yesterday. Posh are hopeful that their initial prediction of a month on the sidelines proves to be pessimistic.

Posh have lost all five of their competitive fixtures on Tuesday evenings this season.