Peterborough United manager Steve Evans has challenged his side to show the country just why they are top of League One in tomorrow’s clash at Southend (September 8, 3pm).
With the top two divisions of English football taking a break because of an international weekend, Posh are the highest ranked team in League action this weekend.
That means greater media interest and the chance for the Posh players to showcase their talents.
Evans is considering starting places for those who impressed in Tuesday’s Checkatrade Trophy draw at MK Dons, namely latest signing Jamie Walker and mercurial winger Marcus Maddison. Centre forward Ivan Toney is also in contention, despite spoling an impressive display at Stadium MK with some woeful finishing.
Posh will be facing a Southend side disrupted by international call-ups, injuries and suspensions.
“I’m too experienced to read too much into media reports about weakened sides,” Evans stated. “Squads are so big these days, teams can overcome the loss of a few players.
“What I do know is we will be facing a well-drilled, disciplined side with good players and we will be playing at an intimidating venue as Southend fans are known for getting right behind their team.
“We have the toughest fixture of the teams at the top of the table, but it’s a challenge we will embrace by playing positively and seeking the win that will keep us top.
“There will be more attention on us than normal because of the international break, but that’s something else to embrace. I’d rather be top of the table than anywhere else.
“Before the Doncaster game last weekend all parts of our team were functioning well. We were defending properly and scoring plenty of goals, but many parts looked broken last Saturday and when things are broken I have to fix them.
“Three or four players delivered a performance in the second half at MK Dons which made me consider them strongly for tomorrow. Jamie Walker was one and Ivan Toney was another even though he was beating himself up over the chances he missed. I can see Ivan enjoying himself when he plays with Marcus Maddison.”
Midfielder Callum Cooke has been ruled out because of an ankle injury, but assistant manager Paul Raynor is back in the dugout after serving a one-match suspension following a red card for foul and abusive language during the 1-1 draw with Doncaster at the ABAX Stadium.
“I love Paul’s passion during a game,” Evans added. “But he needs to watch his language.”