Peterborough United travel to London today for a League One encounter with Charlton Athletic looking to extend their winning run to four matches. However, could they expect a backlash from their hosts after Addicks boss Lee Bowyer criticised their performance against Accrington Stanley on Saturday?
Speaking to the Official Charlton website, Bowyer said: “They’ll have to be better than they were today otherwise they’ll get thumped. Peterborough are a good side. But we’ll be ready on Tuesday. I guarantee they won’t be as bad as they were today.”
The Addicks have got four points from their first three matches and will be hoping to make it two home wins out of two when Posh turn up at the Valley.
Bowyer is disappointed his side hasn’t got more points on the board but is convinced they will suddenly go on a run as he said in the lead up to the game: “On Saturday, the biggest thing for me was our decision making in the final third; when to square the ball, when to lay someone in instead of shooting and that was the thing that frustrated me the most because I cannot control that.
“The lads knew that after the game because I told them and I told them again on Sunday. I’m expecting something a bit different against Peterborough but I still expect us to move the ball well.
“We have to be ruthless. That’s our problem at the moment, we’re not ruthless in front of goal. The good thing for me is that we are getting into those areas and it’s going to come.
“All of sudden we will start winning games by scoring two or three goals.”
Hopefully, they won’t start doing that tonight but it will be interesting to see how Bowyer’s criticism of his players affects their performance.
Charlton could well face a changed Posh side as Steve Evans looks to freshen up the starting line-up despite winning all three League games so far.
Three-goal central midfielder Mark O’Hara could be one to drop down to the bench after picking up a lot of knocks in last Tuesday’s defeat at QPR and again in the weekend 3-1 win over Luton Town.
Louis Reed, who came on in his place on Saturday is the most likely player to take his place but he is such a different player to O’Hara and isn’t as big a threat. That could well be a good thing for the Addicks but how well would Reed slot into the side?
Reed played quite a few games in pre-season alongside captain Alex Woodyard so the pair know a bit about how each other play. He is more of a quiet player who goes about his business without anything spectacular but can he step up to the plate and deliver a performance that gives the fans something to cheer about?
We’re not too sure having only seen him occasionally but time will tell.
The other player who could be missing and who has suffered knocks in the last few games is tricky winger Siriki Dembele. Dembele was a sensation during pre-season and although the opening match of the season saw him rather quiet, that is something you can’t say about his performances ever since.
Dembele has been a revelation with his performances and has already made himself a fans favourite. His time at Grimsby last season was a bit hit and miss with his performances in the second half of the season dipping dramatically.
Last season was his first ever season as a professional Football League player so he may have to be “managed” this season which could mean he finds himself on the bench every so often.
Who would be the likely candidate to replace Dembele on the occasions he doesn’t make the starting line-up?
The two most likely players would be George Cooper and Marcus Maddison. Cooper has been on the fringes of the starting line-up ever since he signed for Posh last January without cementing a place. Known more as an attacking threat rather than a winger who gets up and down the pitch throughout the game, Cooper would provide good cover but will need to learn to track back more to provide defensive cover when required.
The same can be said for Maddison who still finds himself at Posh despite constant interest from the Championship. He may lack match-fitness though after only featuring for 45 minutes in two pre-season matches. Until the loan window shuts, Maddison is likely to find himself on the bench rather than the starting line-up.
Evans made changes last Tuesday for the first round defeat in the Carabao Cup against QPR which backfired massively. His tactics and any personnel changes he may make this time will need to be spot on if we are to pick up a fourth straight win. It will certainly be interesting to see what side he picks tonight.