Peterborough United manager Steve Evans is backing his weary players to return to top form in 2019.
Posh suffered a chastening 5-0 defeat in the third round of the FA Cup at Championship side Middlesbrough on Saturday (January 5) and they are on the road again on Wednesday (January 9) when taking on Chelsea Under 21s in a Checkatrade Trophy tie at Stamford Bridge.
The Posh squad will have travelled over 1,000 miles since Boxing Day after returning from London. They are back in League One action at home to Rochdale this Saturday (January 12) before taking on promotion rivals Luton and Charlton.
Posh handed debuts to on-loan defenders Daniel Lafferty and Ben White at Middlesbrough. Posh expect to have another new recruit in place ahead of the Chelsea game, but it’s unlikely to be Lee Tomlin.
“The scoreline was very harsh at Middlesbrough,” Evans told the Peterborough Telegraph today. “We were the better side in the first half, but when you are dominating good side you have to score and we didn’t.
“Losing two goals so quickly in the second half killed us and the response wan’t great, but my lads have had a tough time since Christmas, I doubt any other team has travelled as far as we have and it does take it out of you. We’ve been to Barnsley, Accrington and Middlesbrough ahead of a trip to London, but I’ve been impressed with the way the squad has knuckled down and got on with things.
“There were signs on Saturday that we will return to our best quickly. The two new lads fitted in well and in the first-half we were solid at the back and looked danegrous in possession which is what we were like at the start of the season.
“We hope to do more transfer business early this week and we are still hopeful of landing Lee Tomlin. If anyone can pull that deal off it’s Barry Fry who has been working round the clock on it.
“Lee won’t be going anywhere else. He wants to play for us and we want him so we will keep plugging away to try and make it happen.”
Posh captain Alex Woodyard is suspended from the Chelsea game, while White is cup tied. Winger Marcus Maddison is available after missing the Middlesbrough game because of suspension. Maddison has also been on paternity leave following the birth of his first child.