Peterborough United manager Steve Evans is adamant his team can cause an upset in their FA Cup tie at Championship promotion-chasers Middlesbrough on Saturday...and not just because the hosts are likely to field an understrength side (January 5).
It’s a welcome break for Posh from their faltering League One promotion push.
But Evans is not treating this weekend’s match or the Checkatrade Trophy tie at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea under 21s next Wednesday (January 9) any less importantly than a League game.
They are both matches he wants to win and he would be prepared to throw any new signings he makes before this weekend into the fray at the Riverside Stadium.
“We want to make progress in every cup we enter,” Evans stated. “Obviously winning promotion is the main objective, but in my experience cup runs don’t do any harm.
“I won’t be fiddling around with the team just to give people a game. I will pick strong sides and I am confident we will deliver a performance that gives us a chance of getting through in both competitions. If we sign anyone before the game and I believe they will enhance the team then they will play.
“I am confident my players will express themselves at Middlesbrough. They will enjoy the experience of playing in a great stadium, but they will enjoy it a whole lot more if they win. The way we have played away from home this season tells me we would have a chance of beating Middlesbrough’s first-choice team.
“I expect them to make seven or eight changes, but their team will still contain strong Championship players and one of them will probably be Britt Assombalonga, one of the best recent Posh players.
“Boro paid £15 million for his services. That’s what top strikers cost even in the second tier. It puts our task into some sort of perspective, but this club doesn’t have to look too far in the past to find a comparable FA Cup tie.
“Twelve months ago Posh went to Aston Villa after a poor result and delivered a great win. Obviously I wasn’t involved with the club then, but I know what excitement that one result brought to the city.”
Posh will be without suspended winger Marcus Maddison at the Riverside, but centre-back Ryan Tafazolli is expected to recover from a dead leg.