Caretaker Peterborough United manager Dave Robertson dedicated his debut victory in the Football League today (February 28) to the club’s ‘brilliant fans’.
Robertson delivered the perfect public job interview by overseeing a 2-0 win over promotion-fancies Bradford City at the ABAX Stadium. A second-half own goal and a late penalty from Michael Bostwick ensured the post-Darren Ferguson era began with an impressive win against a side who will contest an FA Cup quarter-final next Saturday (March 7),
Robertson wants the Posh manager’s job on a full-time basis and this result won’t do him any harm, but he preferred to talk about his players and the club’s supporters. The new boss sprang a couple of selection surprises by recalling teenage centre-back Ricardo Santos to play alongside Gaby Zakuani (another who had been out of favour under Ferguson) and by moving Bostwick into midfield. He was without striker Conor Washington (back spasms) and attacking midfielder Marcus Maddison (dead leg).
“I’m absolutely delighted,” Robertson enthused. “It was a great effort by the players and our fans were magnificent from start to finish. This win is for them really as a thank you for the backing they have given us even in the tough times this season. The support was brilliant today - they had the ground bouncing from the start.
“I’m happy with the result and the performance. We had a game-plan and the lads stuck to it perfectly. We made a few chanages, but they all worked out well.
“Ricardo has been good in training and he was also good alongside Gaby in the reserves earlier in the week. He’s only 19 and he will have peaks and troughs, but I sensed he was peaking again so I had no hesitation in picking him.
“It was always going to be a tough game for our centre-halves, but they were dogged and resiliant. They were up against two high-class strikers in Jon Stead and Billy Clarke, but they didn’t give them a sniff of goal. Gaby is a natural leader who came back from the African Cup of Nations in great form. He also knows what playing for Peterborough United is all about - it was an easy decision for me to pick him.
“We were determined to defend as a team today and we did. The clean sheet is a massive bonus from a very good win against a very good side.
“We played Michael in midfield to make us more solid and to free Jack Payne up to be more creative and they were both very good. It was a good effort all-round and a perfect staff for me and my staff.
“I threw my hat into the ring for the job very forcibly earlier in the week and to be honest the chairman would be mad not to give it to me!
“I love this football club with a passion and I think that rubbed off on the players today.
“It’s all about making progress for the rest of the season though. We have another tough game on Tuesday (March 3) and we will start preparing for that tomorrow (March 1).
Posh moved up five places from 15th to 10th with today’s win. They remain four points from the play-off places, but are now nine points clear of the drop zone.
Posh have a tough trip to fifth-placed Sheffield United on Tuesday. Washington and Maddison should be available for selection.