Peterborough United manager Grant McCann has challenged his players to transfer their August form into the hectic festive programme.
Posh start a run of five League One matches in 15 days with a trip to Fleetwood tomorrow (December 17, 3pm), but head to the north-west coast in indifferent League One form.
After winning their opening four matches of the season, and six of their first nine games, Posh have won just two of their last 12 League One outings.
And Posh have a dismal recent record at Fleetwood’s Highbury base. The last two trips have seen poor performances and a couple of 2-0 defeats.
Posh are currently 10th, three places and two points ahead of Fleetwood who secured a tasty FA Cup third round tie at home to Leicester on Thursday (December 14).
“We have to make up the points we’ve dropped in the last 12 matches,” McCann stated. “This period is a most crucial part of the season. It’s a punishing time, but it’s one when you can pick up a lot of points.
“We won four League One games in a row in August and there’s no reason why we can’t do the same again now. It will be difficult, but it can be done. We’ve made good progress in cup competitions and now we have to treat the next five League One matches as cup finals.
“We are where we are in the league. We know it’s not good enough so far, but we know we have the ability in the playing squad and in the management staff to get back on a winning run.
“We’ve tended to react well to bad results, but now we need to start reacting well to a good result having played well in beating Woking on Tuesday.
“Just because teams are in the top four now, it doesn’t mean they will be in the top four in May. Teams always fade and teams always come on strongly in the second half of the season and we need to be the team who finishes the best. Our aim is still to chase down the top two, but we need our good run to start tomorrow.
“Our blip in the league has lasted longer than I expected. We have a big distance to make up, but trust me we are ready for the fight.
“We have the incentive of needing a win and of putting right the performances of the last two seasons up there. I watched Fleetwood this week. They are in similar form to us and they are well-coached with good players so it will be a tough game.”
Right-back Liam Shephard is back in the matchday squad after recovering from injury and captain Jack Baldwin is available again after serving a one-match suspension.
Striker Junior Morias is the only absentee tomorrow and he is expected to return to action in a fortnight.
Posh haven’t won back-to-back competitive matches since the end of August.