PREVIEW: Respect without fear for Peterborough United against Rovers
Peterborough United aim to knock a big rival out of the League One play-off race tomorrow (March 24).
Posh host Bristol Rovers at the ABAX Stadium (3pm) when they should welcome midfielder Anthony Grant back into the first-team squad.
Rovers are six points behind Posh with nine games to go. A Posh win would effectively knock Darrell Clarke’s side out of the race for a top-six place.
Rovers are without two first-choice defenders in Ryan Sweeney and Tom Lockyer because of international call-ups. Posh are without midfielder Leo Da Silva Lopes for the same reason. Da Silva Lopes made his international debut with a 25-minute substitute appearance as Portugal lost 1-0 to Germany in an under 20s international yesterday (March 22).
Posh are currently one point and one place outside the play-off places after a first defeat under Evans at Oxford last weekend.
“Rovers are very much in the race for the play-offs,” Posh boss Steve Evans stated. “They will come here looking for a win which will close the gap on us so we must be ready for them.
“If we win, it will make things hard for them. It’s the same scenario as when we played Charlton in our last home match.
“That game finished in an emphatic victory for us and we’re looking for something similar tomorrow.
“Rovers have done great under Darrell Clarke. They are a big club for League One level with a big fanbase, but we will respect them without fearing them.
“We have picked up six points in three matches and if we keep that form up we will finish in the top six so it’s not all doom and gloom after last weekend.
“I learnt a lot about myself and my players last week. I knew after five minutes I’d messed up so I needed the players to adapt and they didn’t.
“It’s been a characteristic of this club in the past to blame individual players, but I don’t lilke to do that. I learnt I shouldn’t confuse training ground form with matchday form.”
That last comment would appear to rule midfielder Jermaine Anderson - a shock selection last week - out of the starting line-up tomorrow.
Midfielder Chris Forrester is expected to return to the squad along with Grant and central defender Ryan Tafazolli who will replace suspended skipper Jack Baldwin.