PREVIEW: Ton-up for Leo as Peterborough United hunt a play-off place
Peterborough United go shooting for a League One play-off place tomorrow (March 13), but new boss Steve Evans reckons a match at rock-bottom Bury is as tough as gets at this stage of the season.
The Shakers have lost just once in eight matches since Ryan Lowe was handed the manager’s job at Gigg Lane, and that was at League One leaders Blackburn.
And Evans is mindful of last season’s performance in this fixture when Posh were thumped 5-1 despite taking the lead early in the game through Tom Nichols.
Posh have the greatest of incentives though. A point will take them into the play-off places barring an unlikely margin of victory for Charlton at Blackpool.
“We want three points,” Evans insisted. “And we’re capable of getting them. A point wouldn’t be bad either because this is a tough match, but we will be going up there to win the game.
“We gave ourselves a good platform for the rest of the season by beating Charlton on Saturday, but that’s all that was. It’s a completely different game tomorrow against a side who have lost just once in eight matches and have picked up some commendable results in that time.
“If you could pick your fixtures towards the end of the season you wouldn’t necessarily pick ones against teams at the bottom. They will be fighting for everything so we have to play with the same passion, commitment and desire.
“We didn’t play our best football against Charlton, but there is more than one way to win a football match. It was very encouraging in terms of our endeavour and the way we finished the game was also impressive. We proved we had strength in depth and we have strong competition for places.”
“But we can’t get carried away. We can’t underestimate Bury. We lost heavily there last season after scoring early on which shows what can happen if you go there in the wrong frame of mind.”
Evans could well make a couple of changes to his starting line-up tomorrow. It’s likely to be a heavy, uneven playing surface at Gigg Lane.
Striker Junior Morias, midfielders Anthony Grant and Jermaine Anderson, and winger Danny Lloyd are all in contention for a start, while central defender Ryan Tafazolli is fully fit after missing the last two matches with a hamstring problem.
If teenager Leo Da Silva Lopes plays it will be his 100th appearance for the club at the age of 19.
“The players were tired at the end of Saturday’s game,” Evans added. “But their recovery has been remarkable. They were as fresh as daisies this morning and they wanted to keep on working. I had to end the session.
“We will take 20/21 players up there and make a decision on the starting line-up. We might make two or three changes.
“Leo Da Silva Lopes is an incredible young talent. It’s easy to forget how young he is because he has already played so many games. He did well on Saturday without being outstanding.
“The players were all made up by Jermaine Anderson’s contribution as well. He perhaps thought his days were numbered at the club, but he has plenty more to give.”
Fourth-placed Rotherham United are at struggling MK Dons tomorrow. On Wednesday (March 14) Bradford City, who are currently 10th, three points behind Posh with a game in hand, host third-placed Wigan.