PREVIEW: Peterborough United out to end Rovers' play-off hopes
Play-off chasing Bristol Rovers will get no favours from Peterborough United in the final League One match of the season to be staged at the ABAX Stadium tomorrow (April 22).
Rovers are still in the hunt for back-to-back promotions, but their play-off hopes will disappear if they fail to beat Posh tomorrow.
They won’t lack for support as Posh have handed the Motorpoint Stand to away fans in anticipation of a big away following.
But Posh have incentives of their own. A top-half finish for the first time in three seasons is still in their sights as is bettering the points tally of the last two seasons (63), although wins tomorrow and at second-placed Bolton will be needed to sneak past that total.
Posh boss Grant McCann said: “We want to finish our home campaign with a bang. If we win tomorrow we match last season’s number of home wins (9) as well. It’s important we finish this season well to take us into next season in good spirits.
“It’s a tough game tomorrow obviously. Bristol Rovers have enjoyed an excellent season and to still be in with a chance of back-to-back promotions is a great credit to them and a manager who knows the club well. He kept a lot of last season’s successful squad and he’s added quality to it,
“They are a tough team to beat. We struggled at their place earlier in the season before we managed to win with a late goal.
“But we have incentives tomorrow as well. We will be having a good go at them.”
Seventeen-year-olds Lewis Freestone and Andrea Borg will be in the Posh squad tomorrow, but McCann confirmed a Peterborough Telegraph story regarding on-loan midfielder Martin Samuelsen’s return to West Ham.
Central defender Jack Baldwin is also available after missing the Easter programme because of illness.
“Martin’s confidence was knocked by his experience on loan at Blackburn at the start of this season,” McCann stated. “And he’s very much a confidence player. I wanted him to come here at the start of the season as I felt he needed another season at League One level. It was the same with Callum Elder.
“Martin will come good though. He’s an exceptional talent.
“I also read an article this week (it was a Peterborough Telegraph story) about young players who break into a Posh team at a young age and then disappear. This definitely won’t happen to Lewis or Andrea.
“The new players we bring in will be competing with those two for a starting place.”