Peterborough United travel to the south coast to visit Championship Leaders Southampton in what will be the toughest game of the season yet.
Having lost back-to-back games 3-2, Posh face a Southampton team that have won all their home games this season and are unbeaten in 16 games at home! If Posh suffer another defeat, it will be the first time since April 2010 that they have lost three in a row.
Midfielder Richard Chaplow has warned against complacency when facing one of the most free-scoring teams in the division.
Chaplow said: “Peterborough did well last season when winning promotion alongside us.
“We know all about them and we know they will create chances and score goals.
“Obviously losing Craig Mackail-Smith was a big blow for them, but they have somehow managed to replace him because they are still scoring and creating.
“Darren Ferguson clearly has them playing well so it will be another tough game for us. If we are not on the ball ourselves we will find it tough.
“But we want to be top when the next international break comes along so we are desperate to win our next two games.
“We are enjoying being top and we want to stay there as long as possible. We have a strong sense of belief and we have a real ruthless streak when it comes to taking chances.
“The players in our team complement each other so well, it makes us very dangerous especially going forward.”
Posh boss Ferguson is aware of the tough task facing the boys in blue tonight. Ferguson said: “We are aware of the task facing us, but we are not afraid of it. Southampton are having an outstanding season and have some excellent players.
“They are obviously full of confidence and playing very well. They have a big attacking threat because they can go long with Rickie Lambert as a target man, but they also have some quality footballers who can hurt you.
“It’s going to be a very tough match for us, but the lads were bubbly in training yesterday and they are looking forward to the challenge.
“If we win tomorrow we will have won half of our matches with a third of the season gone. We would have 22 points from 15 matches and that would be a very satisfactory start for us.
“We have had a couple of disappointing results on the trot, but we knew this would happen at some stage of the season.
“The Championship is a tough, unforgiving league, but if we stick to our principles we are going to be fine.
“We will play our football tonight and see where it takes us. What we can’t afford to do is concede an early goal like we have in our last three matches because if that happens against this opposition we will be in for a very long and difficult night.
“We will be having a go though. It should be a cracking football match and we’re really looking forward to it.”
Meanwhile, Assistant boss Kevin Russell believes Posh can get a result from the match. “They have to lose at home some time,” Russell declared. “So why not tonight? We will go there quietly confident that we can pick up a result.
“Obviously they are a great club, a massive club and one that belongs in the Premier League. They have quality players and score goals from all over the park.
“But teams have started to notice us and realise that they will be in for a hard game. Opponents have started to change their system to match us which is a testament to how well our players have been performing.
“The key tonight will be keeping the ball well. If we can deny them possession for long periods of time it will frustrate them, but we will also have to defend better.”
Home Team News
Southampton report no new injuries ahead of the game and expect Guly do Prado to be fit after picking up a knock in the weekend game against Middlesbrough.
Adam Lallana played 70 minutes on Saturday following his return from injury and looks set to keep his place in the starting line up for the Saints.
Home Player To Watch – Richard Chaplow
Posh boss Ferguson is fully aware of the talents of influential midfielder Richard Chaplow, having been his manager during his ill-fated stint as manager of Preston.
He has made a permanent move to the South Coast club and is arguably playing some of the best football of his career.
Away Team News
Posh will once again be without Lee Tomlin who will be serving the second of a three match ban following his sending off against Leeds United.
Craig Alcock missed Saturdays match at Watford with a leg injury. He is due to have a scan on his leg to see the extent of his injury. Tom Kennedy will again deputise for Alcock after playing his first match for Posh this season since he re-joined the club on loan from Leicester.
On loan midfielder Ryan Tunnicliffe is expected to retain his place following another good showing by the youngster. Boss Darren Ferguson commented: “Ryan deserves a run in the side, but it won’t always be at the expense of Tommy. I am a big fan of Tommy and the rest of the team love playing with him as he’s a really unselfish player.”
Away Team Player To Watch – Lee Frecklington
Midfielder Lee Frecklington was on the transfer list during pre-season after spending most of his Posh career on the treatment table.
However, following an impressive pre-season, he was taken off the transfer list and has been in inspired form this season having appeared in every game this season scoring 4 goals.
Match Facts & Stats
Last seasons encounters between these two teams saw 13 goals scored in the two games.
Southampton won 4-1 at home while an entertaining 4-4 draw was played out in from of the Sky TV cameras.
Southampton currently sit top of the Champiosnhip with 30 points from 14 games and three points clear of second place West Ham United.
In their last six games, the Saints have won 3, drawn 2 and lost 1.
Peterborough United sit in 12th place with 19 points.
Their last six games have resulted in 3 wins and 3 defeats.
Gavin Ward from Surrey takes charge of this match.
This will be the second game this season Ward has officiated a Posh game having overseen Posh’s 2-0 defeat by Brighton and Hove Albion earlier in the season.
The last time he officiated a Saints game was back in October 2010 when Southampton beat Tranmere 2-0.
Posh often defy the odds in games like this but I can’t see Posh coming away with a win.
If they can start to defend better, which is not one of Poshs better qualities, we could come away with a draw.
However, I can only see a third defeat in a row for Posh!
Saints 3 – 1 Posh
5th November, 2011
Coventry v Southampton
Peterborough v Derby County
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