Peterborough United will use their Plymouth pain to ensure they stay in the League One play-off race by beating struggling Rochdale at the ABAX Stadium tomorrow (April 14).
Posh boss Steve Evans insists his side were ‘wronged’ at Home Park when a number of key decisions went against them, including a red card for right-back Liam Shephard which was subsequently rescinded and a last-gasp penalty conceded by skipper Jack Baldwin which led to a 2-1 defeat.
The loss dropped Posh out of the play-off places, but Evans believes a win tomorrow would move them back into the top six. Posh are currently eighth, just a point off sixth, but fifth-placed Plymouth host seventh-placed Portsmouth tomorrow, while sixth-placed Charlton are at home to ninth-placed Scunthorpe.
Posh will assess the fitness of key men Ryan Tafazolli and Marcus Maddison today. Both men would be missed, but Tafazolli’s absence would be a huge blow as fellow centre-back Steven Taylor is suspended.
“It’s obvious we’re fighting for the last two play-off places,” Evans said. “Wigan and Blackburn will go up and Shrewsbury and Rotherham will definitely make the play-offs.
“The other two places are very much up for grabs, although Plymouth stole a march on the rest by beating us last weekend.
“We were wronged there, there is no doubt about that. The red card was a deplorable decision, but we have to use the pain we felt on the long trip home to our advantage against Rochdale.
“It’s a tough game though. They’ve only lost twice in their last 10 matches, both times to Wigan who are top of the league. They have dangerous forward players and a manager in Keith Hill who is passionate, caring, attentive and sets his team up with great detail.
“But we have strong players with passion and great character, plus we have a magical goalscorer in Jack Marriott.
“We will have to be at our best to beat them. This is a big game for both teams and we owe them one for wiping us out at their place earlier in the season.
“If we win I am convinced we will be back in the play-off places tomorrow night with four games to go and that would be a great position.
“But we have to be wary of a team fighting for their lives. I watched a dvd of Wimbledon outplaying and beating Charlton the other night which shows what can happen in this league.
“Obviously we want Ryan Tafazolli and Marcus Maddison to be involved, but they are both 50/50. Every minute without Maddison is a minute without a genius. Marcus will never be the hardest working player in a side, but if your life depended on someone delivering a perfect cross five seconds from time, you’d want that someone to be Marcus. You’d also want Jack Marriott to be on the end of it.
“We are blessed with talent here, but we need a bit of luck along the way. We haven’t had any good luck since I walked through the door.”