Home joy will deliver the play-offs

Posh captain Jack Payne (black shirt) is one caution away from a two-match suspension. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
Posh captain Jack Payne (black shirt) is one caution away from a two-match suspension. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
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Peterborough United manager Dave Robertson admits home form will be the key to a successful push for the League One play-offs.

Five of Posh’s last nine matches are at the ABAX Stadium, including three of the next four, starting with the visit of Chesterfield tomorrow (March 21, 3pm kick off). Chesterfield are curently eighth in the League One table, one place and two points behind Posh.

Posh have won both of their home games under the managament of Robertson.

“We are determined to make the ABAX Stadium a place no team likes to come,” Robertson said. “We have done well there in the last two matches. The players are playing with great freedom and energy and they are receiving great support form our fans.

“I spent some time with the supporters at Preston purely because I wanted to thank them for the way they have backed the team. I’ve challenged the players to excite the fans again tomorrow because they deserve to see a team playing positively and with passion for the shirt.

“We now have two big home games in a row and we need to make the most of them if we are to achieve our aims this season, but all my focus right now is on the Chesterfield match. We’ve taken it one game at a time and that’s the way it will stay. We can’t get ahead of ourselves.

“Chesterfield will present a big challenge. Like us they are in good form, but if we play with the same intensity as in our previous four matches we will give them a tough match.

“We had a blip at Preston on Tuesday (March 17), but we were playing a strong team with the best defensive record in the division and we still gave them some problems. That’s the first time in five matches that we hadn’t scored, but we are still very upbeat.

“We’ve been working on our centre forwards getting on the end of crosses and on them shooting at goal when they get the chance. They’ve done it pretty well recently.

“We will still be taking some good form onto the pitch tomorrow and we will be well prepared and raring to go at kick-off.”

Posh captain Jack Payne has to avoid a caution in the next four matches or he will pick up a two-game suspension. Midfield partner Michael Bostwick is on eight cautions, two short of a ban.

But Robertson has told his skipper to keep playing his normal game.

“Jack has been fantastic since I took charge,” Robertson added. “He has been freed up a little by having Bostwick alongside him and he’s shown what a good technical, passing midfielder he can be.

“But he is also good at the defensive side of the game and that means tackles and interceptions. He can’t go onto the pitch thinking he can’t make a tackle and he won’t. If he does pick up another caution we have strong players like David Norris and Harry Beautyman ready to step in.”

Robertson will assess the need for any loan recruitments after tomorrow’s match. Unless Posh pick up injuries and suspensions ahead of next Thursday’s (March 26) transfer deadline Robertson will stick with the players already at the club. He reckons 18 year-old Harry Anderson could have a role to play during the run-in.

“Harry has adapted well to life in the first team squad,” Robertson said. “He is still eligible to play for the under 18s, but he is an exciting talent and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Posh fans saw a lot more of him before the end of the season.

“Harry has slotted in well in the dressing room. The other lads call him ‘Desire’ as he’s totally committed and gives 100% in training as well as matches.”