Peterborough ready for crunch games
It’s quite fitting that a season that will go down as arguably the most entertaining in Peterborough United’s history is going to be resolved by the excitement of the play-offs.
A succession of last minute goals in recent games have cost us vital points that means the second automatic promotion spot will go to either Huddersfield or Southampton. Their consistency throughout the season versus our defensive frailties and managerial change mid-season means that its hard to argue that we have been hard done by to miss out on second place.
In truth there were many games earlier on in the season where it was us who was scoring last minute goals, so the old cliché of luck evening out over the course of the season is why a play-off spot is exactly what we deserve.
It’s pleasing to already know our fate with a couple of league games still to go as it has already allowed Darren Ferguson to rest some players who have endured a huge number of games, especially since the turn of the year. He made seven changes for the home game against Yeovil with the likes of George Boyd, Craig Mackail-Smith and Grant McCann watching from the sidelines for the majority of the game – although even as a substitute Mackail-Smith managed to bag his 31st goal of the season.
Hopefully the manager will stick with this philosophy for the final two games because the players listed above are irreplaceable and to lose any of them for the playoffs will be a huge blow to our chances.
Although its always impossible to predict how the playoffs will go its hard to see us up against anyone other than Huddersfield or Southampton (depending on who doesn’t claim second) should we get to the final at Old Trafford. Both are very good teams, probably Championship quality already and over two legs should overcome their probable opponents, Bournemouth.
It looks likely that our semi-final will be against MK Dons. Some call it a local derby, but the real rivalry between the two sides is centred around them beating us to the League Two title in 2008 only for us to edge them out the following season to gain promotion to the Championship.
My self-confessed one-sided opinion is that Peterborough are much the better side should it be them who we face. There’s certainly not many of their players who would make our starting line-up and even in defeat to them last month we came out of the game even more confident of our superiority.
While we have had a decent season in finishing in the playoffs I think Karl Robinson has worked wonders and overachieved with a mediocre squad. That’s not to say they don’t deserve their playoff place, but it does mean that we will go in as favourites and hopefully much less fatigued as the Dons still have a bit of work to do to secure their place.
One factor we need to overcome is the apparent curse we have when playing in front of the Sky cameras. It’s been a good while since we have managed a win under the spotlight of live television. But what better way for Joe Lewis and Craig Mackail-Smith (and possibly one or two others) to end their Posh careers than to lead us to promotion at Old Trafford and condemn the MK Dons to another season in League One in the process.