Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson has urged his players to embrace the excitement of an end-of-season push for the play-offs.
It’s unusual for Posh to still have a chance of promotion with three League One matches to go - they haven’t finished in a play-off position since the 2013-14 campaign during Ferguson’s previous spell at the club - and the manager believes his players are focussed, calm and relaxed, possibly because they have been rank outsiders for the past month or so.
But sixth-placed Doncaster’s Easter collapse and an unbeaten run of five matches has given Posh renewed hope within the squad and on the terraces. They expect to take a large following to tomorrow’s game at relegation-threatened Walsall (April 27, 3pm). Walsall will be relegated if they lose.
“We are focussed, calm and relaxed,” Ferguson insisted. “We are on a good run because we’ve just concentrated on the game in front of us. We haven’t been worrying about what other teams are doing and that will be the same tomorrow.
“Obviously we had a bonus with Accrington winning at Doncaster on Tuesday, but we had a bigger bonus from our own performance against Sunderland on Monday. If we can show that mentality and strength of character in the last three matches we will have a chance of winning them all, which is still what we need to do despite Doncaster’s defeat.
“The Sunderland game was a great one to be involved in and it should be the same at Walsall. Once again it’s two teams who need to win so I’m expecting another exciting encounter.
“There’s an edge to the game which I like and I’ve told the players to embrace having so much to play for at this time of the season. The atmosphere will be good again as we will take a large following. The punters have been given belief by Accrington’s win.
“The first goal will be crucial tomorrow so we will need to be at it from the start. There will be nerves among players and there will be fatigue so the role of substitutes could be important as well.
“We have to be at it from the start though. We will have to outrun Walsall’s players and work as hard as them. We will have do the nitty, gritty bits of the game well and then hope our ability comes through.”
Ferguson is picking from a full squad as centre-back Ryan Tafazolli is available following a knee injury. He might not return though as Josh Knight and Rhys Bennett played well together in both Easter games.
“It’s a tough selection for me,” Ferguson added. “Josh Knight played well against top League One players in Paddy Madden, Ched Evans, Will Grigg and Charlie Wyke, but Ryan and Rhys were excellent together in the three previous matches.”
Doncaster are at in-form Oxford United tomorrow.