POSH PREVIEW: Promotion hopes still alive for Peterborough United despite the loss of top scorer

Souleymane Coulibaly needs to start scoring for Posh again.
Souleymane Coulibaly needs to start scoring for Posh again.
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Manager Graham Westley insists the sale of the club’s top scorer won’t mean the end of the Peterborough United prompotion push.

Conor Washington’s departure to QPR on Tuesday (January 19) was terribly timed in terms of forthcoming Posh League One fixtures.

Can Lee Angol step into Conor Washington's boots?

Can Lee Angol step into Conor Washington's boots?

On Saturday (January 23) Posh travel to third-placed Gillingham, the team with the best home record in the division, and the following Tuesday (January 26) they host League One leaders Burton Albion at the ABAX Stadium.

But Westley remains upbeat about his team’s chances. He’s confident current Posh strikers Lee Angol and Souleymane Coulibaly will step up in Washington’s absence.

There is also the chance of new signings arriving before the weekend. Not that they would be guaranteed a starting spot.

“I watched Posh at Oldham before I was manager and Lee and Souley were on fire together,” Westley stated.

“They scored twice apiece and we won 5-1.

“I kept them together for my first game in charge at Bradford City and we won that as well with Conor Washington starting from the substitutes’ bench.

“It’s clear Lee and Souley have the ability to make their mark. They must see this as a big opportunity and I believe it’s one they can both take.

“They are young, but they are willing learners and hard workers.

“In fact we had a practice match on Monday (January 18) and Souley scored twice. I think he’s pleased that Conor’s gone!

“We have a couple of tough matches coming up, But the match at Sheffield United was tough as was the FA Cup tie with Preston at our place and we won both of those.

“We also won convincingly at Burton in the FA Cup when they were flying high at the top of League One.

“There are many tough games throughout the season, but playing against us is also tough.

“Conor was a top player for us. but there are still plenty of goals in our squad.

“We have scored goals all season from all over the pitch. We have the likes of Marcus Maddison, Erhun Oztumer and Martin Samuelsen, all of whom have shown they can score at this level.

“We will continue to be positive. It’s not as though we didn’t know there was a chance Conor would leave.

“This club has always just got on with things and that’s what we will do again.”

Posh will again be without central defender Michael Bostwick at Gillingham.

He was expected to return to the squad for the Southend match last weekend, but suffered a set-back in training.

Now is a good time Angol and Coulibaly to hit some form.

Both have shown flashes of potential in their first full season in the Football League, but neither of them have scored a goal since November.

Angol’s last goal arrived in the 3-2 League One win over Barnsley on November 24.

That was his seventh goal of a promising campaign, but he’s played another eight games since then without scoring.

Angol has seven goals in 22 Posh appearances, seven of them as a substitute.

Coulibaly last netted in the 2-1 win over Fleetwood on November 14. He’s made seven goal-less appearances since then.

Coulibaly has five goals in 26 Posh appearances, but 16 of those have been from the substitutes’ bench.

Marcus Maddison scored the last of his seven goals, seven appearances ago so Washington’s burden in recent weeks is obvious.

Thirteen different players have shared Posh’s 52 League One goals this season.

Washington’s share was 10 (he also scored five cup goals) so less than 20 per cent.