Peterborough United manager Grant McCann believes the club’s fans need to show more patience towards younger players.
Abuse was directed at Leo Da Silva Lopes (18) and Tom Nichols (23) during and after Saturday’s (March 11) defeat at home to Oxford United.
McCann insists it’s not a new issue at the ABAX Stadium, but he hopes it can be stamped out.
Da Silva Lopes collected the first red card of his career in the closing stages on Saturday. Nichols was substituted midway through the second-half, but remains the club’s top scorer this season with 12 goals.
“It’s been disappointing to see some of the comments aimed at Leo in particular,” McCann stated. “But it’s not the first time this has happened at this club.
“I remember Jermaine Anderson suffering when he first came into the first team from the Academy and I remember something similar happening with Joe Newell.
“These young players need our support. At such a young age they need our support. They will have good and bad games, but we must stick by them.
“Maybe I should have rested Leo a bit more this season, but I don’t just see him as a youngster, I see him as a very good footballer and a great lad.
“Leo was a bit naive on Saturday, but he was just eager to win the ball back and I will never ask him to stop doing that.
“We have others coming through the ranks who will make an impact at first team level like Morgan Penfold. We have to show them patience and not jump in with criticism.
“When you look at our squad you see a lot of players like Chris Forrester, Tom Nichols, Ryan Tafazolli and Andrew Hughes who are playing at League One level for the first time.
“Dips in form are common. It’s happened to too many of us at the same time, but I will stick by the whole squad. I believe in them all.”
Right-back Michael Smith is touch and go to play at Chesterfield tomorrow (March 14) after limping out of the Oxford match with a dead leg. Jack Baldwin would be favourite to replace him from the start if he fails a late fitness test, a switch that would involve Michael Bostwick returning to the centre of defence.
Winger Marcus Maddison will again miss out because of an ankle injury, while Da Silva Lopes is suspended.
Posh still have several midfield options with Anthony Grant, Martin Samuelsen, Brad Inman and Callum Chettle all pushing for recalls.