Three Points. Two teams. Two different reasons for needing a win.
Peterborough United -Vs- Leicester City
Venue: London Road
Date: 31st March, 2012
Peterborough United host East Midlands rivals Leicester City at London Road looking to make it three wins out of the last four home matches.
Both teams are looking to pick up the three points for completely different reasons. Posh want to retain their Championship status while the Foxes have an outside chance of sneaking into the play-offs.
The rock in defence, Gaby Zakuani, is a major doubt for Posh after being substituted against West Ham on Tuesday night with a back spasm. His absence will cause boss Darren Ferguson a major headache as it will leave him with just one recognised senior centre back! Fergie is leaving the decision entirely in Zakuani`s hands and will wait until the final minute before deciding on his team line up.
Skipper Grant McCann is also hoping his niggling calf injury doesn`t flare up again so he can take his place in the Posh starting line-up.
Fergie may decide to make changes in midfield after some players are starting to look tired. Youngsters Danny Kearns and Joe Newell could come into the reckoning following good displays in a behind closed doors match against Northampton Town on Wednesday [28th March].
Knowing Zakuani, he`ll come through the pain barrier to make the starting line-up – whether he completes 90 minutes is another matter!
Vital Posh predicts the starting line-up will be:
Alcock, Brisley, Zakuani, Rowe
Darius Vassell and Andy King both returned from injury in a behind closed doors friendly at Kettering Town on Wednesday evening. Vassell scored from the penalty spot in a game that ended 1-1. Both players are now in contention for this weekends match against Posh.
One player definitely missing is the influential Neil Danns. A free transfer signing in the summer from Crystal Palace, Danns was sent off against Hull City earlier this month and received a 4 match suspension.
Fergie said ‘I`m hopeful Gaby will be OK. He was in a lot of pain after the game on Tuesday. I know I can trust Gaby anyway. If he says he is fit, he will be in the team. If that`s not the case, Craig Alcock will move into centre of defence and Mark Little will come back in at right back.
‘One area I may look to make some changes is midfield but I haven`t made my mind up yet. I definitely won`t change the front two.’
Foxes keeper Kasper Schmeichel is hoping the Foxes can snatch a play-off place come the end of the season: ‘Until it’s mathematically impossible none of us will give up.
‘If results keep going as they are going, and we can finally take advantage of it then why not? We have to stay positive and we are still in the hunt. That’s our attitude. We have a great manager and he won’t let us stop at all.
‘We need to be as relentless as we can.’
Foxes boss Nigel Pearson is also hopeful his side can keep pressure on the teams above them: ‘We’ll keep our focus on the next few games now, because there are teams above us in worse form than us.
‘We’ve just got to make sure we remain positive about our run-in.
‘A lot can happen between now and the end of the season and it will probably go down to the last game, so we need to make sure we’re in contention for that.
‘There’s work to be done and I’m not taking it for granted that we’ll be in the running, but the way the last month has gone, the form table has been a bit awry, which gives a lot of teams encouragement that they might be in with a chance.’
STATS & FACTS
Head to Head statistics between these two teams can be found HERE.
A form guide to Posh and the Foxes can be found HERE.
17 – Barnett (13 for Crawley)
10 – Taylor
8 – McCann
8 – Sinclair
7 – Tomlin
7 – Boyd
14 – David Nugent
8 – Jermaine Beckford
7 – Paul Gallagher
Premiership referee Michael OLIVER takes charge of this clash. Find out all his stats and when he has refereed Posh and the Foxes before HERE.
He will be assisted by Glenn Turner and Bobby Pollock.
The fourth official is David Phillips.
This could be an interesting game with both sides in need of vital points. Posh have produced some good performances at home recently and will be hoping their second half performance against West Ham on Tuesday night was just a blip.
Leicester haven`t been the best of travellers this season winning only five times away from home so Posh will be hoping to see another defeat added to Leicesters away record.
Vital Posh predicts a narrow win for Posh: 2 – 1.
UP THE POSH
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Photos/images courtesy of www.theposhpics.com