Patience will be a massive virtue for Peterborough United for the remainder of the League One season.
That’s the view of Posh boss Graham Westley, an opinion strengthened after watching his side succumb to a surprise 2-0 defeat at Blackpool last Saturday (December 19).
Blackpool defended deep and in big numbers, denying Posh the space and time to work their attacking magic.
Westley wouldn’t be surprised to see other teams attempt to frustrate his free-scoring side, including Chesterfield, a team who have lost their last six League One matches, who visit the ABAX Stadium on Boxing Day.
Westley said: “What we saw from Blackpool on Saturday, and from Luton in the FA Cup recently, is what we will probably have to get used to for the rest of the season.
“Our reputation for fast, attacking play is such that teams are going to play with rigid lines of defence.
“We have seen teams play four defenders in midfield just so they can man mark our midfielders. That’s how much concern we are causing teams.
“We will have to be very patient at times this season. We will have to suck teams out so that we can then exploit the time and space that creates.
On-loan left-back Callum Elder is an injury doubt for the Chesterfield match. He limped off in the early stages at Blackpool. His natural replacement Kgosi Ntlhe is still three weeks away from a return to action.
Westley refused to be drawn on whether or not central defender Jack Baldwin will make his first start since November 1, 2014 in place of struggling centre back Ricardo Santos on Boxing Day
Santos conceded a penalty after jusy 25 seconds at Bloomfield Road last weekend.
“I asked Jack last week how fit he felt he was now compared to when he was playing regularly,” Westley added.
“He said 90% and he will be the best judge. That might not be enough for me to start him in a game just yet. I played Miles Addison against Barnsley when he was 60% fit, but that was out of necessity. Miles did remarkably well in the circumstances.”
It’s a rare Boxing Day home game for Posh this year.
The last time Posh played at home on December 26 was 2008 when star striker Aaron Mclean scored the only goal of the game against League One promotion rivals Millwall.
Posh have lost their last two Boxing Day matches including last season when they were fortunate to only lose 3-2 to this year’s Christmas visitors, Chesterfield.
Posh are trying hard to generate a 10,000 home crowd for the game against the Spireites. Season ticket holders have been invited to bring a friend/relative to the game for just a tenner.
If the appeal is successful, it would be the first 10,000 gate at Posh for a competitive fixture since the League One game against Leyton Orient in November 2013.
Posh last attracted 10,000 fans to London Road for a Boxing Day game when Rotherham arrived in town for a big Division Three match in 1999.
Posh will want a repeat of the crowd, but not the result as Rotherham crushed Barry Fry’s side 5-0, although Posh did recover to win promotion.
Just over 9,000 witnessed the win over Millwall. A home Boxing Day game with Swindon attracted just 4,212 fans in 2004.