Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson has ordered his players not to leave anything behind on the Fratton Park pitch tomorrow (April 30) when Posh attempt to take their League One season into the final day.
Posh have to win at Pompey to have any chance of overhauling sixth-placed Doncaster Rovers. Pompey have to win to maintain their hopes of automatic promtion so the task for a Posh side well beaten at struggling Walsall on Saturday is huge.
But Ferguson is convinced his side can win the game and if they don’t he wants the players not to have any regrets over their performance.
“There can be no more excuses,” Ferguson said. “I fully expect a performance more fitting of one of my teams and if we don’t win the game I want us to be able to say we gave everything for 90 minutes, that we left nothing behind.
“I hate criticising my players in public, but the performance at Walsall was indefensible. We’ve drawn a line under it now after a meeting with the players this morning and now we have to find a way to win at Portsmouth.
“We’re capable of winning, but we obviously have to improve hugely on what we delivered at the weekend.
“We still have a chance of going up and for some players this might be the only chance they have of getting to the Championship so I expect a reaction to Saturday.
“We’ve taken the season into the final week which hasn’t happened at this club in recent times and now we want to take it into the final day. Doncaster gained a big advantage at the weekend, but if we win tomorrow the pressure reverts back to them.
“We need to return to the level we showed against Sunderland and for the four games before that one. If we do that we have a good chance. There will be a great atmosphere with 20,000 in the ground and a big crowd should act as extra motivation as it did for the Sunderland game.
“It’s the last chance for both clubs to achieve what they want to achieve after 46 games. If we don’t win we won’t be in the play-offs and if Portsmouth don’t win they won’t finish in the automatic promotion places.”
Posh will make changes after the Walsall debacle. Attacking midfielder George Cooper is not expected to play after damaging his knee at Walsall and others are apparently struggling with knocks.
Centre-back Ryan Tafazolli dropped out of the Walsall game on the morning of the match and his participation tomorrow is again in doubt.
Lee Tomlin will probably return in place of Cooper.
Even if Posh claim an unlikely win at Portsmouth tomorrow, they would still have to beat Burton at home in their final League One fixture on Saturday (May 4) and hope Doncaster don’t win their final game at home to Coventry.