Winning at Doncaster Rovers tomorrow (February 9) won’t define Peterborough United’s season, but it could well shape it.
Posh, who have won just three of their last 15 League One games and yet still sit sixth, would move five points clear of Doncaster with victory at the Keepmoat Stadium. A defeat and Grant McCann’s side would move above Posh with two matches in hand, the first of which is at home to inconsistent Southend on Tuesday.
Posh are unlikely to have winger Siriki Dembele available because of knee ligament damage, while Lee Tomlin will serve a one-match supension following his red card against Plymouth last weekend.
Left-back Daniel Lafferty has a fighting chance of shaking off a hamstring strain and central defender Ryan Tafazolli is available after completing a three-game ban.
Ferguson could well move away from a midfield diamond for this game and hand a debut to transfer deadline day signing Josh Knight as one of three central defenders.
Ferguson. who celebrates his 47th birthday tomorrow, said: “We have prepared well for this game. It’s obviously a big match because if they beat us they go above us, but it won’t define the season no matter what the result. There is still a third of the season to go and we need to get some momentum before we tackle the run in.
“I will have had a full week with the players which will be a big help. It’s a game we want to perform well in and get the right result for the large amount of fans we will have travelling to the game.
“There are still plenty of games to go after this one though and there are always twists and turns in the run-in.
“What is obvious though is the lift we would get from winning the game. There’s no escaping the fact we have been on a poor run of form for three months and a few of the players are short on confidence as a result.
“Half the battle in football is mental and includes taking confidence into a game. I don’t want players to worry about making mistakes. The best players in the world make mistakes, it’s how you respond to them that matters.
“We’ve been working on the mental side as well as the formation we will use for this match. Doncaster play in a way that makes them very dangerous so we have to counter that and make the game about us. They have good players with a strong work ethic and we must match that.
“It’s a game we are all looking forward to. It’s not a contest between me and Grant McCann, it’s a game with three points at stake and we want them. That’s the one birthday present I really want.
“Ryam Tafazolli’s return would give us balance at the back as he’s the only left-footed centre-back we have and we have not given up on Siriki Dembele. We’ve asked for a secdond opinion on his scan results, but he has less chance of playing than Daniel Lafferty.”
Posh expect to be watched by over 1500 travelling fans tomorrow.