DERBY DAY: Posh boss McCann expecting a much tougher test against the Cobblers
Peterborough United boss Grant McCann has warned his players to expect the Cobblers to be far tougher opposition when they meet for the second time in quick succession on Saturday.
Posh eased to a 3-0 success over Town in their Sky Bet League One clash at London Road last month, but an unusually quick return fixture fewer than five weeks later will provide a more severe examination of the new-found confidence in McCann’s men.
That’s what the Posh boss is warning his players, but he remains optimistic of collecting another three points for his side who will start the game in fifth place, three places and two points clear of the Cobblers.
Posh leapfrogged Town last weekend thanks to their 1-0 win over promotion-chasing Bolton Wanderers, coupled with the Cobblers’ 2-1 defeat at Gillingham.
But Rob Page’s men know a win at Sixfields on Saturday will once again see them go above Posh, and McCann is anticipating a tough test for his in-form team.
“It will be a completely different game,” McCann stated.
“Northampton were missing a couple of key men at our place and that won’t be the case on Saturday.
“The first meeting will have no bearing on the second one. If we go there thinking we will win easily again we will get into trouble.
“Northampton are a good side with a strong home record and we will need to show the same resolution, character and ability we showed against Bolton last weekend to get the result we want.
“The players are aware of that and they have been made aware again of the importance of this fixture in particular, to the fans and to the club in general.
“The game at the ABAX was a great experience.
“The atmosphere was special and it will be the same at Sixfields. This is a big game for both teams, especially as we are both in and around the promotion places.
“I expect us to play well though. We are showing good form and we will be ready for what will be a very tough challenge.”
Posh are on a run of five wins in six matches in all competitions, and four wins out of five in the league.
McCann is likely to field an unchanged side against Cobblers, while Page is likely to tinker with the team beaten at Gillingham.
Midfielder Jak McCourt missed the loss at the Priestfield Stadium, but is expected to be available after recovering from a neck injury, while JJ Hooper suffered a thigh strain in Kent that could rule him out.
Central defender and former Posh player Gaby Zakuani is also available for selection after missing the trip to Gillingham as he was on international duty with DR Congo.