Peterborough United manager Graham Westley insists there’s no need to panic despite his side’s rotten run of current form.
Posh have lost their last three League One matches by an aggregate score of 9-1 to drop well off the play-off pace ahead of tomorrow’s (February 27) game against Swindon at the ABAX Stadium (3pm).
But Westley, while admitting he’s still learning how to manage young players, believes a tunaround in form is close.
Posh did receive an injury boost yesterday (February 25) with news that influential midfielder Chris Forrester is not as seriously hurt as first thought. He won’t play tomorrow though and nor will key defender Michael Bostwick who completes a two-match suspension.
Westley said: “Other players might have received more headlines this season, but I doubt there is anyone, in the squad or on the terraces, who doesn’t believe Chris Forrester should be the first name on the teamsheet every week.
“His scan has shown a disruption to his leg, but it’s not one that will require surgery or one that will keep him out for too long.
“Obviously it’s never good to have your better players on the sidelines, but there is enough ability in the squad to win us matches at this level.
“We’re not enjoying our recent run obviousy, but we’re not panicking either. When things go terrfically well we take a lot for granted. As a manager I think I have taken things for granted as well. I expect things to happen naturally with experienced players, but that’s not the case with younger players.
“I haven’t managed so many young players in the same squad before so it’s a learning curve for me, but we trust each other and we enjoy working with each other.
“Anyway things are never as bad as they seem just as they are never quite as good as they seem. The margins are not massive, but they are not going in our favour just now.
“But a turnaround in form is never far away. It can happen at any given time.
“I recall beating Barnsley 3-2 when they were really struggling, but they played us off the park that night and it was obvious they were a good side who would improve quickly. That’s exactly what’s happened.
“When teams play us right now they will face a team who is not winning games, but they will know that we still enjoy a lot of possession. We have just stopped being clinical up front and we’ve been loose defensively, but it was only two weeks ago that we delivered a stunning performance at home.
“We are working hard on the solutions. Myself and Grant McCann left the ground at 1.45am after the Oldham defeat last Tuesday (February 23). We were picking each other’s brains, and other brains as well, and we’ve identified five or six areas that we can develop.
“It’s a step-by-step process, but we will get there.”
Swindon are 15th in League One - three places and two points behind Posh - but they arrive at the ABAX Stadium in decent form. The Robins are unbeaten in their last three matches and in former Posh striker Nicky Ajose they have one of the division’s in-form players.
Ajose, who was a Posh flop, has scored five goals in his last two matches to move up to 18 goals for the League One campaign, one fewer than top scorer Adam Armstrong of Coventry.
“No opposition player can hurt us if we have the ball,” Westley added. “Clearly Swindon are going well and scoring goals so it should be an entertaining game between two sides who like to go forward.”
Posh are expected to change captains again tomorrow. Central defender Gaby Zakuani wore the armband against Oldham after goalkeeper Ben Alnwick’s decision to give it up, but Westley always intended to let other captaincy candidates have a go before he makes a firm decision.
Kgosi Ntlhe is expected to start again tomorrow at left-back. Westley pointed out that on-loan Harry Toffollo, who starred for Swindon last season, is now third-choice behind Ntlhe and Andrew Fox.
Westley, who tried to freshen things up by coaching the players on the ABAX Stadium turf rather than the club’s training ground yesterday, has ruled out bringing any new players on loan. He reasons there are already enough relative newcomers in the squad without cuasing further disruption.