Peterborough United manager Steve Evans is prepared to sacrifice some defensive stability to ensure his side deliver attacking, entertaining football.
The best and worst of Posh were on view in Tuesday’s FA Cup second round replay at Bradford City which Posh won after a penalty shootout following a 4-4 draw.
They might need to tighten up tomorrow when visiting Shrewsbury a team with a strong League One home record (December 15, 3pm), but Evans is prepared to gamble.
“I’ve always been a manager who prefers to win 10-9 than 1-0,” Evans stated. “And there were times during the Bradford game when I thought that might actually be the scoreline!
“I will sacrifice some defensive security to hunt goals, but it’s important to get the balance right. At Bradford Posh fans saw the best and the worst of us. The good bits were all attacking ones.
“Clearly we have potent attacking players of high quality. We paid a lot of money (£600k) for Ivan Toney, but that could turn out to be a bargain as he looks like a top-half Championship striker already.
“His hat-trick at Bradford was very special. Only he and Marcus Maddison could have scored that first goal. You need vision, ability and a lot of confidence to shoot from a 50-yard free kick.
“And Maddison played as well as I’ve ever seem him play at Bradford. He has got himself extremely fit and he’s worked hard on the defensive part of the game and that complements his obvious quality.
“It wasn’t just those two playing well either. Jason Cummings made some great runs during his time on the pitch and when Matt Godden came on he stretched the game really well.
“Siriki Dembele has great quality going forward as well, but he has to learn the defensive part of the game. Bradford scored two goals after players ran past Siriki. And that’s the thing about defending. It isn’t just the back four. We didn’t defend at all well as a team. Alex Woodyard is trying to do everyone else’s job as well as his own, but we will get there.
“Certainly a busy schedule won’t bother us. We have excellent fitness levels throughout our team. We were running all over Bradford in extra time because we were a lot fitter than them.
“We have a free week after Saturday’s game and then it’s straight into the packed festive programme, but playing Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday won’t bother us.
“There is an impressive desire to never get beaten in this squad. They will run until they drop for this club.”
Evans is expecting a tough test at Shrewsbury who will be playing their first home game under new manager Sam Ricketts.
“I believe Shrewsbury have made an excellent appointment,” Evans said. “What he was doing at Wrexham was outstanding in a tough league.
“It’s the start of another tough period for us as we then play a Walsall side who are having a brilliant season before travelling to Barnsley and Accrington over Christmas, but we will be ready for the challenge. We want our fans to enjoy Christmas!”
Goalkeeper Aaron Chapman is expected to return to the starting line-up at Shrewsbury despite Conor O’Malley’s heroics at Bradford.
Posh will have to rearrange their League One game at Bristol Rovers which was scheduled for Saturday, January 5.
Posh will now be at Middlesbrough in the third round of the FA Cup on that day.