Shaun Brisley is expected to make his Peterborough United debut as Posh host Championship play-off contenders Blackpool at London Road.
Peterborough United -Vs- Blackpool
Venue: London Road
Date: 10th March, 2012
Both teams are looking to pick up three points for completely different reasons with Posh trying to reach that magical 50 point mark which should mean Championship safety while Blackpool look to maintain their play-off chances.
Both teams suffered defeat on Tuesday when Posh crashed 3-0 at home to fellow relegation battlers Millwall while the Tangerines came away from Derby having suffered a 2-1 defeat.
Posh welcome back Lee Tomlin after he missed the last two matches through illness. It will be a much needed boost as the last couple of performances have been way below par with the last performance being totally unacceptable.
Matthew Briggs has returned to parent club Fulham after his month loan was cut short which leaves the club even shorter on defensive players. The only recognised defensive players left in the squad are Mark Little, Craig Alcock, injury plagued Gaby Zakuani and on-loan Shaun Brisley. Tommy Rowe can play at left back as well if needed.
Brisley has yet to make his debut for Posh since signing on loan from Macclesfield as Posh boss Darren Ferguson felt he wasn`t ready for the Championship. However, having failed yet again to bring in someone he feels capable of slotting straight into the defence, Fergie may be forced into playing him following less than impressive performance by the back four since the departure of Ryan Bennett to Premiership outfit Norwich City.
With the return of Tomlin, Fergie will have options up front and will decide between Barnett, Tomlin, Taylor, Ball and Sinclair. Taylor has been playing on the right side of midfield recently and although he uses his speed and skill, he often runs down blind alleys with the ball and often slows down the Posh attack. Hopefully he`ll be moved back to a forward position as we need to attack at pace.
Danny Kearns have shown he has the skill and ability to play in the Championship although he does struggle to complete 90 minutes. With the poor midfield performances recently, something needs to change so it could see a start for Kearns.
Vital Posh would like to see the following starting line-up:
Little, Brisley, Zakuani, Alcock
Blackpool boss Ian Holloway is looking to make changes following the defeat by Derby County on Tuesday night. With games coming thick and fast, he feels his team are in need of some fresh legs.
Influential players Gary Taylor-Fletcher and Matt Phillips both made substitute appearances against Derby and could be in line for a start against Posh. Craig Cathcart has also recovered from a hamstring injury and could return to the side.
Ferguson said: “We need to attack Blackpool from the off. In the last two defeats at London Road we have conceded goals in the first 10 minutes and that has given us a mountain to climb. We need to be positive and get back to the free-flowing football from earlier in the season.
“Winning 3-2 or 4-3 would be great because we just haven`t been working opposition goalkeepers hard enough in recent matches.
“We`ve suffered at home by letting in early goals so tomorrow I want us to get out of the blocks quickly and have a go at Blackpool from the start.
“One of my jobs has been to remind the players how good they can be at this level. We had an excellent conversation between the staff and the players after Tuesday`s game.
“Obviously no-one was happy with the performance, but after a good long chat we were all a lot happier at 10.30pm than we had been at 9.30.
“This league is tough. All teams go on bad runs, but we have shown we can do well in the Championship and we must return to that sort of form.
“We are facing a very good side with a very good manager tomorrow. Blackpool have some powerful options up front, but we can cause them problems as well.
“If we start well we will carry the crowd with us. We need each other tomorrow and for the rest of the season.”
Centre-back Brisley is confident he can do a good job for Posh if he is selected: “I can`t wait to play. I understand the reasons why I haven`t had a game yet, but I`m here to play in the Championship and I want to get started.
“It is very frustrating sitting on the substitutes` bench as I hate watching football, but it`s also been helpful because I`ve been getting a close-up view of how we play and what the pace of the game is like.
“I couldn`t have settled into the club any better. It`s a fantastic set of lads at the club and they have made me feel really welcome and I`d love to start helping them out on the pitch.
“Blackpool have some quality strikers, but I`d love to get the chance to show what I can do tomorrow. I`m confident I will cope.”
Tangerines boss Ian Holloway said: “I think I`ll pick quite a few different players for the game against Peterborough. We have had a lot of games lately so I`ll make a few changes to get us going again.
“We looked sharp and very comfortable at Derby in the first half, but we started the second half really sluggishly. We looked like a diesel rather than a Rolls Royce, but that`s what happens at this level.
“We were then undone by two set-pieces which would never happen to the best teams in this division.
“In our last two games we have needed a second goal which would have clinched a win, but it hasn`t come. We are not the best when we have to hold onto something.
“It`s back to the drawing board as far as I`m concerned as everything is tighter around us now in the play-offs so we need to get back on track quickly.”
STATS & FACTS
Posh are still looking to chalk up their 900th League win which they`ll achieve if they win this match.
Posh have won only once in 12 matches in all competitions and have not beaten a team in the top seven this season!
Blackpool are the only Championship side to score in every game in 2012 including 3 goals in every game they played in in February!
Head to Head statistics between these two teams can be found HERE.
A form guide to Posh and Blackpool can be found HERE.
14 – Barnett (13 for Crawley)
8 – McCann
8 – Taylor
7 – Sinclair
7 – Tomlin
12 – K.Phillips
7 – Taylor-Fletcher
6 – M.Phillips
6 – Thomas Ince
It`ll be a another very tough game against a very good side. Posh need to start putting in the performances they know they are capable of just as they did earlier in the season.
If Posh can do that, we should be in for an entertaining game, but with Posh showing relegation form since the turn of the year, I can only see one outcome?a Blackpool win.
Vital Posh predicts a 3 – 1 win for Blackpool.
Mark HAYWARD takes charge of this clash. Find out all his stats and when he has refereed Posh and Blackpool before HERE.
He will be assisted by Mathew Buonassisi and Geoff Law.
The fourth official is Geoffrey Russell.
UP THE POSH
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Photos/images courtesy of www.theposhpics.com