It’s crunch time for Peterborough United boss Grant McCann and his players.
There are no more distractions on the horizon. They have 18 games in which to bridge a four-point and two-place gap to the League One play-off places, a minumim requirement for ambitious chairman Darragh MacAnthony.
MacAnthony is convinced he has the players and the manager capable of finishing in the top six.
Like the rest of us, he is keen for Posh playing hero McCann to join an exclusive group of Jimmy Hagan, Noel Cantwell, Chris Turner, Barry Fry and Darren Ferguson as club managers who have won a promotion in 58 years of Football League membership.
McCann’s statistics suggest he has a chance. He’s already eighth (of 29) in the all-time Posh list in terms of the percentage of possible League points won and a couple of those above him managed the club exclusively in the bottom tier.
McCann’s figures over his first 100 games in all competitions (42 wins) don’t stack up too well against the club’s most successful managers, but it’s worth pointing out that double-promotion winning Darren Ferguson’s first 100 games (53 wins) included 65 League Two matches.
Chris Turner’s first 100 matches in charge were probably the most impressive. His team won 48 matches, including games in three different divisions and a play-off final at Wembley, and won promotion twice in that time.
Noel Cantwell’s first 100 games yielded the most wins (54), but his figures also included 79 Division Four games.
Posh finished 11th in League One in McCann’s first full term which was actually an improvement on the previous season. Posh finished on 62 points, 11 points outside the top six.
Posh have 43 points from 28 games so far. The average points tally for teams finishing sixth in League One over the last 10 years is 74.4.
Chesterfield finished sixth with 69 points in 2014-15 and Huddersfield finished sixth in 2009-10 with 80 points.
Posh finished sixth in 2013-14 with 74 points.
It’s likely a lower figure will be required to reach the play-offs this season, but MacAnthony is adamant his team must do whatever is required.
“This is a well-funded squad that needs to finish in the top six, it should finish in the top six and it has to finish in the top six,” MacAnthony stated before last weekend’s FA Cup defeat at the hands of Leicester.
“I’m not uncomfortable with our position because the last time we won promotion we were seventh at the start of the year.
“But eighth or ninth isn’t a good enough finish for us. We need a good February and March now to set up a spine-tingling April.”
McCann and the Posh manager stats will appear online later today (February 1).