Doncaster Rovers shock defeat at home to Accrington Stanley on Tuesday (April 23) has opened up a path to the play-offs for Peterborough United. It’s still a tough ask, but it can be done if things fall Posh’s way in the final week of the season.
SATURDAY APRIL 27/SUNDAY APRIL 28
Posh win handsomely 3-0 at Walsall and Doncaster lose 3-0 at Oxford, thus pretty much wiping out Doncaster’s goal difference advantage as well as their lead on points.
It’s the stuff of wild dreams, but it could happen.
Walsall have lost six of their last seven League One matches - they fluked a draw in the other one thanks to a terrible last-minute penalty award - while Oxford have won six of their last seven matches and drew the other one.
Oxford beat an in-form and gifted Charlton side in their last home match.
Posh scoring three goals might be the hard part of this particular wishlist. They’re not converting enough scoring chances and only Marcus Maddison of what should be a fearsome front four has been scoring regularly.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Posh play 4-4-2 at Walsall with Ivan Toney partnering Matt Godden in an attempt to increase goal potential.
Posh shouldn’t be troubled by complacency at the Banks’s Stadium. Walsall are next-to-bottom as were AFC Wimbledon when Posh lost there in February, while Bradford were similarly placed when beating Posh a few days earlier so Fergie’s men know what can happen.
The best Posh results from the other League One matches this weekend would be Sunderland beating Portsmouth, Barnsley seeing off Blackpool and Coventry winning at home to Shrewsbury (Sunday).
Yes, Coventry are currently only two points behind Posh, but we might need them to have something to play for when they travel to Doncaster on the final day of the season.
If Coventry win and Doncaster lose on Saturday, Coventry would overtake Doncaster on the final day with a victory at the Keepmoat. They wouldn’t be guaranteed to overtake Posh though.
TUESDAY APRIL 30
If Portsmouth have lost at Sunderland and Barnsley have beaten Blackpool, Pompey would lose valuable, possibly decisive, ground in the automatic promotion race which would obviously suit Posh.
If results were favourable on Saturday, Posh would now be level on points with Doncaster so even a draw against a deflated Pompey team would take Darren Ferguson’s side into the top six ahead of the final day of the season.
Pompey would have to win to keep alive their promotion hopes no matter what has happened this Saturday. That could leave them susceptible to Posh breakaways and I’d expect Ferguson to go back to 4-2-3-1 to try and exploit the gaps.
SATURDAY MAY 4
There is a downside as four points from two games for Posh would effectively rule out Coventry’s chances of a top six finish due to their inferior goal difference, but sixth spot would now be in Posh’s hands which is all you could ask going into the final day of the season.
If Posh do lose at Pompey all would not be lost as Coventry’s reward for beating Doncaster could be huge.
If Posh have lost at Fratton Park they would probably go into the final game at home to Burton behind Doncaster on goal difference, but by a margin that could be overcome in a single game (if this Saturday’s results have gone to plan).
It’s simple really, but Sky Bet don’t fancy Posh’s chances! Doncaster are 1/8 to finish sixth with Posh at 5/1 and Coventry 18/1 to finish in the top six.