POSH PREVIEW: Brotherly love on hold for a day

Ben Alnwick plays against his brother on Saturday.
Ben Alnwick plays against his brother on Saturday.
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Posh goalkeeper Ben Alnwick is always ready to help his little brother . . . apart from this Saturday (October 17).

For the first time Ben will look downfield in a competitive football match and see a very familiar face standing 100 yards away.

Jak Alnwick, six years younger than his big brother, is the Port Vale goalkeeper and they host Posh at Vale Park this weekend.

Ben says he is trying to treat the match as he would any other. He also knows that will be nigh on impossible.

“I’m trying not to think about it,” Ben stated. “I’m trying not to get too wrapped up in it, but it’s difficult. It’s obviously a good talking point ahead of the game.

“Ideally Jak will have a really good game, but we will win 1-0! I want to win this match as much as every other game I play, but I still want Jak to do well.

“We are very close. We discuss our matches and our own performances all the time.

“Before every match we send each other best wishes and we will mean it this Saturday.

“It’s hard to know how we will feel on the day because we’ve never come up against each other before.

“The closest we came was when Jak was close to signing on loan for a League One club just before we were due to play them last season, but it never happened.

“I’m pleased for my dad this Saturday though. Normally he alternates watching us play, but for once he can watch us both!”

Ben was the Posh number one last season when his baby brother was suddenly thrust into the Premier League limelight in a televised game for Newcastle against Chelsea.

Jak made his debut as a substitute in that high-profile clash and kept his place for six weeks. However he was released by ‘TheMagpies’ at the end of the season and spent time training at Posh in the summer before joining Port Vale.

He has been an ever-present for Vale this season.

“I’m proud of what Jak has achieved this season,” Ben added.

“It can’t be easy leaving a big club like Newcastle, but he’s taken it in his stride and he’s been playing well.

“As a keeper, you have to play your own game. I am always here for him if he needs me for advice and it is great seeing him do so well.

“ He burst into the Premier League at a young age. He did exactly what I would expect a young lad to do as he had some excellent games, some not so good games and some average games. It was a mixed bag but understandably so.

“Believe it or not neither of us wanted to be a goalkeeper when we were younger.

“I fancied myself as a central midfielder and Jak even had a trial as a left-back at Newcastle.

“Eventually I got to an age when I was bigger than everyone else so my mates always put me in goal.

“My dad was a kick-boxing coach so I was always very athletic and I found I quite enjoyed flying about everywhere.

“Jak watched me doing it and fancied having a goal himself so he used to borrow my gloves and me and my mates would just smash shots at him.

“We used to play by some garages on a concrete floor, but Jak loved diving around as well and me and my mates just loved having someone we could hammer balls at!

“We were always competitive when we were growing up. It was the same if we were playing pool or the FIFA football game.

“We were both desperate to win and I am sure that will be no different this weekend.

“We both probably realised that that there was a possibility that we might end up on opposite teams one day and now it has.

“It will be interesting to see how it pans out.”

Posh go into the game in slightly better form than Vale having won four of their last six League One matches. They have won their last three away matches.

“We are in a very good place at the moment,” Ben added. “We are playing well, we have confidence, we have momentum and we look fitter.

“We look like we will score every time we go forward, but we’re also playing well defensively.

“It’s important we keep the momentum going for as long as possible and we are fortunate enough to have a management team who just won’t let us get complacent.

“After every game, even ones when we have won comfortably, the new manager and Grant McCann find something that we could have done better so we work on it straight away.

“We are constantly trying to improve and that can only be a good thing.

“The atmosphere is very good and very positive. Peterborough United is a very good place to be right now.”