Grant McCann branded Peterborough United ‘terrible’ after their defeat at Fleetwood Town on Saturday, while Cobblers boss Rob Page said his side’s defending was ‘embarrassing’ as they lost 3-1 at home to Millwall.
It’s fair to say that neither side is going into Tuesday night’s big derby at London Road (ko 7.45pm) in the finest of fettle, but Posh boss McCann has urged his players to take their chance to ‘become a hero’ by sinking Northampton.
It is the first derby between Cobblers and Posh since March, 2009, when Charlie Lee grabbed the only goal of the game to secure a 1-0 for win for a Peterborough side reduced to 10 men when Gaby Zakuani, now a Cobblers player, was sent off after only seven minutes.
McCann is desperate for a repeat of that result, and said: “I never got the opportunity to play for Posh against Northampton which I greatly regret.
“But I know exactly what the fixture means to everyone at the club and the fans.
“It’s a chance for a player to become a hero, a legend, like Charlie Lee did when he scored the winning goal in the last meeting, and it’s also the chance for the players to repay the fans for our performance in Fleetwood.
It’s a chance for a player to become a hero, a legend, like Charlie Lee did when he scored the winning goal in the last meeting, and it’s also the chance for the players to repay the fans for our performance in Fleetwood. The players have been left in no doubt about the magnitude of this gamePeterborough United boss Grant McCann
“The players have been left in no doubt about the magnitude of this game.
“It’s huge for us. Derby games are great to play in. The atmosphere under lights will be brilliant and I have enough big-game players in my squad to be confident,
“It’s the perfect game for us though. If we win this game what went on at the weekend will be pushed to the back of the mind.
“We need to respond in the right way and make sure we get the three points.”
Posh have endured a mixed start to the season, and have struggled in recent weeks as they have claimed just one win in the past 10 games.
That victory was an impressive 3-1 win over Bury in their most recent home match, but any confidence gleaned from that victory was crushed by their defeat at Fleetwood at the weekend, although there were mitigating circumstances with key man Marcus Maddison being ruled out 30 minutes before kick-off through illness.
The Posh top scorer is now fully fit and will be recalled on Tuesday, with the Posh boss saying: “The illness that kept Marcus Maddison and Michael Bostwick out of the game at the weekend has cleared up which is good.
“I desperately wanted to keep the same team as beat Bury at Fleetwood, but Marcus was feeling dizzy and vomiting before the match.
“Marcus is a key man for us as he’s hard to contain when on form and it’s a game when we will need all our leaders on the pitch.
“Apart from the Bradford game, we’ve been very good at home.
“We should have more wins, but we let in late goals against Port Vale and Swindon.
“But the performances have been there and a repeat of our display in the last game against Bury will do nicely.”
Posh go into the game in 11th place with the Cobblers in ninth, but McCann knows a win will see them leapfrog their rivals.
“Everyone says Northampton have had a good season so far,” said the Peterborough boss.
“But we are a point behind them which shows how tight league one is.
“I remain convinced we have a squad capable of challenging for the top six.”