Peterborough United manager Steve Evans is demanding his side make a strong start to the hectic festive schedule with victory over Walsall in a League One fixture at the ABAX Stadium tomorrow (December 22, 3pm).
Posh take on the mid-table Saddlers in the first of four games in nine days. They travel to Barnsley on Boxing Day and Accrington Stanley on December 29 before hosting Scunthorpe on New Year’s Day.
Evans is keen for former Posh stars Dean Keates and Russell Martin to receive a warm welcome from home fans tomorrow, but he wants their return to be a miserable one.
Keates manages Walsall, while Martin is a player-coach at the club.
“Dean and Russell were two fantastic players for Posh,” Evans stated. “The way they they performed and the commitment they showed in their time at London Road deserves to be recognised.
“But I want us to be ruthless on the pitch. It’s important we start the festive season strongly and that means beating a very good Walsall team.
“Dean has done a great job. It’s the best Walsall team of recent seasons and they had strung together some very impressive results before a bad defeat last weekend (they lost 4-0 at Bradford City).
“They have good players all over the pitch. They play in a good, talented style and they will take some beating, but if we play to our best and we get some luck for a change we can expect to get the three points.
“We’ve had no luck all season. We just have to fight harder and smarter to turn it our way.
“We will set our team out in a positive, purposeful way and try and make sure we get the win we need.”
Posh are not expected to make too many changes to their starting line-up, although winger Siriki Dembele is under threat from both George Cooper and Jamie Walker.
Admission to the game tomorrow is just £1 for under 18s. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.theposhtickets.com.
Posh are hosting a Christmas market before the game (noon onwards) which will include stalls selling candy floss, mulled wine, mince pies, roasted chestnuts. There are also photo opportunities with a live reindeer and possibly Santa.
There will also be a live performance from magician Sean Heydon and youngsters from the Peterborough Cathedral Choir will be performing some festive tunes.