Manager Steve Evans fears striker Jack Marriott has played his last match at the ABAX Stadium in a Peterborough United shirt.
The 23 year-old bagged his 33rd goal of a brilliant season in a 2-0 win against Fleetwood today (April 28) before Evans revealed some big clubs are getting ready to fight for the player’s services.
Naturally Evans wants to keep Marriott and build a promotion winning squad around him, but market forces will most likely ensure he leaves. Evans claimed there was a suggestion from boardroom level today that Marriott be left out of the starting line-up, presumably to guard against injury
George Cooper also scored for Posh as a run of four straight defeats came to an end. Posh are now eighth with just a game at ninth-placed Portsmouth to come (May 5, 5.30pm kick off).
“I’d be foolish not to want Jack Marriott in my team next season,” Evans stated. “But there is huge interest in a special talent and I trust the board to do what’s in the best interests of the club and of the player.
“The chairman turned down unacceptable bids for Jack in January and if those same bids come in for him now they will still be unacceptable.
“But I have spoken to some managers and they are determined to get Jack. It’s not a certainty he will go, but goalscorers as good as him are gold dust. There is a huge amount of interest in him.
“Jack has pretty much scored in every game he’s played for me so I’d like to think some of the work I’ve done privately with him has helped. There are still things he can improve on and he will.
“There was some pressure on me from above not to play him today, but we needed to win a game and he and Marcus Maddison are the players most likley to win a match for us.
“Neither of them had their best game today, but they deliver moments of quality that turn matches.
“I’ve had 900 games as a manager and never lost four in a row before so I dread to think what my mood would have been like if I’d lost a fifth.”
Marriott and Maddison, another expected to leave Posh in the summer, were taken off by Evans before the end of the match and both received standing ovations from the Posh fans.
Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony said after the game: “Jack is the best goal scorer in the Football League at 23 years old. Reality tells us all whats going to happen next.”
Posh at least finished their home campaign on a high with a comfortable win in a match between two teams with little to play for.
“It took us a while to get going, but we stepped it up in the second-half and deserved to win,” Evans added. “We didn’t do enough in the final third in the first half.
“I was pleased with my central midfield today. Anthony Grant was excellent and Leo Da Silva Lopes wasn’t far behind. Leo is just 19 and has so many attributes.
“I was delighted for George Cooper as well. He’d been abandoned, but we’re getting him up to full fitness and wasn’t it good to see a central midfielder get into the box and score?”
Evans now says he he has made his mind up about the immediate future of the ‘vast majority’ of his current squad. His retained list ill be announced after the Portsmouth match. Evans also said there has been plenty of early interest in Marcus Maddison.
Striker Junior Morias missed today’s match after suffering an ankle injury in training. He will have a scan early next week.