Personal and professional pride is the only motivation Peterborough United require as they prepare to try and spoil Bolton’s promotion party on Sunday (April 30, noon kick-off).
Bolton require just a point - barring an unlikely huge win for Fleetwood over Port Vale - from the final game of the season to seal an immediate return to the Championship. A victory for Posh would see the Cod Army promoted instead, providing they beat Vale.
It’s a tall order for Grant McCann’s men against a team expecting the backing of a huge Marcon Stadium crowd. The game will be screened live on Sky Sports.
“We are not playing for Fleetwood or anyone else tomorrow,” McCann stated. “Our only duty is to ourselves.
“It’s another match we want to try and win. Our motivation won’t be to stop Bolton going up, it will be to finish the season on a high so we can take more confidence into next season.
“It’s a very tough game of course. Bolton are having a great season and they will have a huge crowd behind them, but all season I have watched my players rise to the biggest occasions.
“We’ve played well in our TV games this season for a start and this is another chanace for us to showcase our skills, but it is a tougher test. Bolton have kept 17 clean sheets this season. Like all Phil Parkinson’s teams they are strong and well-organised defensively, but they also have a threat up top.
“They have a lot of experience and they will put balls into our penalty area. Their set-piece play could be a concern for us because they are very good at winning first and second balls.
“But we beat them earlier in the season and if we deliver a similar performance we could beat them again. Bolton’s consistency has taken them to second place, but we have the ability to beat them if we play to our best.
“We certainly won’t go up there to lie down for them. We will be professional.”
McCann could be tempted to stick with the 3-5-2 formation employed in last week’s (April 22) 4-2 win over Bristol Rovers at the ABAX Stadium. Recent injury victims Ryan Tafazolli and Gwion Edwards will travel to the game, but a place on the substitutes’ bench is more likely than a start.
“Ryan and Gwion are champing at the bit to play,” McCann said. “But Andrew Hughes and Lewis Freestone, two players who could make way for them, have played well enough to keep their place.
“I am tempted by 3-5-2, but a couple of the lads are still unsure of how best to play the formation.”