Peterborough United can make a huge League One promotion statement by beating Portsmouth in tomorrow’s top-of-the-table clash at the ABAX Stadium (September 15, 3pm).
It’s a battle of the top two, both unbeaten, in front of an expected 10,000-plus crowd and a draw would probably keep Posh on top of the pile. Not that Posh boss Steve Evans is thinking along those lines.
“It’s a game we believe we can win,” Evans stated. “And if we do it would confirm we are serious promotion candidates as we will be facing comfortably the best opposition we have seen this season.
“Portsmouth are a dangerous animal. They are desperate to get back to the Premier League, never mind the Championship. I fancied them to challenge at the start of the season and having seen some of their performances this season I don’t see how they won’t be up there when it matters in May.
“It’s a brilliant football club we are entertaining. Their support is famous worldwide. If they were playing in a car park in the North East they’d probably have 3,000 fans at the game.
“There’s no doubt both teams deserve to play in a fantastic atmosphere because of the starts they’ve enjoyed.
“It’s fair to say though that we have even more to offer. We’ve played in fits and starts, we’ve invited our opponents to have the ball too much at times, but we’ve been finding a way to win because of our great desire, character and teamwork.
“Last season it was all about Jack Marriott and Marcus Maddison, but this season we are a team and that’s got us over the line in some matches. We will need to be better tomorrow.”
Maddison has a chance of displacing Siriki Dembele in the starting line-up tomorrow. Attacking players Ivan Toney, Jamie Walker and George Cooper are also in contention, while Joe Ward is expected to come back into the team after creating the winning goal at Southend from the substitutes’ bench last weekend.
Midfielder Callum Cooke has recovered from an ankle injury, but a place on the bench is the best he can hope for.
Pompey have top scorer Ronan Curtis back in their squad after he missed last Saturday’s draw with Shrewsbury because of international duty with Ireland under 21s.