Peterborough United have collected five points from their last 10 League One matches and yet go into Saturday’s game at home to lowly Colchester just two points outside a play-off place.
Anyone watching the Posh performances since the end of October would not give them much chance of finishing in the top half of the table, never mind in a play-off place. But chairman Darragh MacAnthony continues to exude confidence and this might be why:
1) League One is full of average teams, like Posh, and any team putting together a decent run of results will have a chance of a play-off place. The top six are not likely to shoot clear as they did last season,
2) Eight of the last 11 home games Posh face in League One are against teams currently in the bottom half of the table.
3) Posh have yet to start a League One game this season with Marcus Maddison, Erhun Oztumer and Jon Taylor in the same team. That could change on Saturday and it’s vital they hit it off together from the start.
4) With the exception of central defender Jack Baldwin, the Posh injury crisis appears to be over. A team of Alwnick: Smith, Bostwick, Burgess, Ntlhe: Taylor, Payne, Newell, Maddison: Oztumer, James, might be quite decent at League One level.
5) The injury crisis clearing up means manager Darren Ferguson has no excuse, but to put players in their best positions. No more Michael Smith at left-back please.
6) Luke James has shown signs in the last one-and-a-half matches that he might be a good signing in time. He needs a goal though and with so many potentially creative players in the side I selected in point 4) he may start getting some chances.
7) The management team and playing squad should be too scared of their chairman to fail. A trip to Spain in the middle of an appalling run of form didn’t please all supporters, but Posh are run by a hard, yet fair man, who is giving them every chance to succeed. He will surely act decisively at the end of January if there is no improvement.
8) Marcus Maddison is too good for League One. If he stays fit (and he can expect to be booted by opponents for the rest of the campaign) he will win games on his own.
9) The January fixtures are all very winnable so Posh must hit the ground running on their return from Spain. The current bottom two (Colchester & Gary Johnson’s Yeovil), an over-achieving Port Vale team and a fading Notts County side provide the opposition this month.
10) The law of averages dictates that Posh will soon start beating the bottom teams, manager Darren Ferguson will soon stop over-complicating his team selection and tactics, Luke James will soon start scoring and that no key men will be injured in the first half of 2015. That’s how football works isn’t it?
Follow @PTAlanSwann for Posh news and match action: Posh v Colchester, Saturday, 10 January 3pm - tweet your comments using #PUFC