Peterborough United manager Graham Westley believes a trip to in-form, play-off chasing opposition presents a perfect challenge for his under-performing players
Posh will be firm underdogs for their League One game at Barnsley tomorrow (April 19). The Tykes are seventh, just one place and two points outside the play-off places, whereas Westley’s men have delivered a strong of unconvincing displays in recent weeks, including their 4-1 win at Colchester on Saturday (April 16).
But Westley believes the game will help show which players want to be involved in a League One title push next season.
“This is a perfect test for us in many ways,” Westley said. “It’s a chance for the players to show they belong at Peterborough United and they want to help us achieve our ambitions next season.
“The chairman’s words from last weekend (Darragh MacAnthony delivered an ultimatum to his entire staff regarding poor form) are still being heard and this is a chance for the squad to prove they have been listening.
“We are a mid-table team and we are going to finish mid-table so on the face of it we have a tough test against a team in great form and with plenty to play for.
“But we will treat it as a great challenge and we are all looking forward to it.
“We beat Barnsley earlier this season when they were at the wrong end of the table, but they looked a good side with good players back then. They’ve proved it in great style by claiming the table rapidly and by winning the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Wembley.
“I watched them beat Oldham last week when they didn’t play at their best, but they still found a way to win. That’s what good sides do.
“We have fallen short all season against the top teams. We need to start putting that right which will help us convince our fans that we are serious about winning the title next season,”
Westley wouldn’t be drawn on his likely team selection. After the Colchester game he did mention a desire to freshen up his midfield which could mean a rare recent start for on-loan teenage midfielder Martin Samuelsen.
“I want to win every game,” Westley added. “I’ll pick the team I think can win.”
Full-back Michael Smith faces a late fitness test after limping out of the Colchester game with a tendon injury.
Posh have taken just 15 points (four wins) in 17 matches against the current top nine in League One.
Posh have won one and lost seven of their eight Tuesday League One matches this season. Their only success was a fortunate 3-2 home win over Barnsley.