PREVIEW: Posh seek to restore pride at Roots Hall

Posh manager Grant McCann.
Posh manager Grant McCann.
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Peterborough United are determined to bring pride back to the football club.

Posh boss Grant McCann was in bullish form as he prepared his team for a tricky League One assignment at Southend United tomorrow (October 17, 7.45pm kick off).

Leo Da Silva Lopes has a chance of starting for Posh at Southend.

Leo Da Silva Lopes has a chance of starting for Posh at Southend.

Posh have lost their last three League One matches, reaching a nadir with a 1-0 home reverse at the hands of lowly Gillingham on Saturday (October 14).

But McCann insists there is too much quality in his squad for a losing run to get much worse. He hasn’t lost the faith and he’s urged the club’s supporters to stick with him and his team.

McCann was abused by some fans during the Gillingham match.

“We’re all sick of this losing run,” McCann stated. “There are frustrations being felt everywhere, but no more so than in the dressing room.

Posh midfielder Michael Doughty is likely to miss out at Southend.

Posh midfielder Michael Doughty is likely to miss out at Southend.

“We’re in a competitive league where everyone can beat everyone else on any given day. The teams who win automatic promotion tend to be that little bit more consistent and play with a little more fire than the rest.

“That was us in the first six games or so, but we’ve slipped off those standards in one or two areas and we’ve been punished.

“Apart from half a game at Oldham, half a game at home to Oxford and the whole game against Gillingham I’ve been happy with what we’ve produced.

“Three weeks ago we beat Wigan who are now top of the league. We didn’t relax after that game, but we’ve lost some of our quality. It’s up to me and the coaching staff to help the players get it back.

“Look at the table in isolation and we are not in bad shape. We are on the verge of the play-off places and we are six points off third place with a game in hand. The fact we started so strongly and are now slipping has increased the frustration levels.

“I certainly haven’t lost the faith. I have faith in myself, my management team and my players. We are all determined to make the fans proud of us again. We must stick together and stay strong.

“I did get some criticism for taking a player (Anthony Grant) off against Gillingham, but I did it because I wanted to switch to a midfield diamond and Chris Forrester was the best player in League One in that position for a lot of last season. It also enabled me to get Leo Da Silva Lopes on and he was very impressive. If he can start matches like that we will gave some player on our hands.

“I am paid to make those sort of decisions. I have to make many in a game. I am still learning so mistakes will happen. Players also have to make decisions and some they took against Gillingham didn’t come off at all. The players are trying hard and they will fight so it’s up to me and my staff to give them the confidence to play like they did at the start of the season.

“That will come with winning matches and we are glad we have another game so quickly. Southend away is never an easy game. They have good players and a very good, experienced manager so it’s a tough test, but we will go there and try and win the game.

“The teams who win automatic promotion from this division tend to lose between 8-10 games in a season so we have a few in hand yet, although obviously we want to start winning again tomorrow.”

Midfielder Michael Doughty is unlikely to be involved at Roots Hall tomorrow as the back complaint that kpet him out of the Gillingham game hasn’t eased. Reserve defender Alex Penny is also on the sidelines because of injury, while striker Junior Morias is a long-term absentee.

McCann remained tight-lipped about his likely formation tomorrow, but goalshy striker Ricky Miller could earn a reprieve as a ‘two striker’ policy is set in stone at Posh.

“I will always play two up front,” McCann stated. “It’s the way I want to play. It’s the way this club likes to play.

“One thing I do know is our recent form is not down to the systems we’ve tried. We just haven’t been at the races in terms of our quality. We have threats with pace up front so we have to find a way to serve them better.”

Southend have been beaten heavily in their last two games, both away from home, but they are unbeaten at Roots Hall where they’ve won three of their six matches so far.

The Shrimpers have a defensive crisis though. Anton Ferdinand, Ben Coker, Harry Kyprianou and Rob Kiernan are all injured or suspended. Winger Jermaine McGlashan is also suspended so manager Phil Brown might gamble on the fitness of experienced centre-back Michael Turner and winger Michael Kightly.