Source: Peterborough Today
Peterborough United have been warned that FA Cup failure is not an option at struggling Stockport tomorrow (Saturday, 3pm).
Chairman Darragh MacAnthony insisted upon a run to the fourth round of this competition in his pre-season list of targets while manager Johnson would love to earn a dream tie further down the line. But for either of those things to happen, Posh can afford no slip-ups tomorrow.
Gary Johnson’s men sit fourth in the League One standings and will do battle in the first round against a team four places off the bottom of the Football League and who have lost their last two games 5-0.
Johnson said: “The chairman deserves a bit of luck with a cup draw and we certainly want to have a long enough run in the competition to make that a possibility.
“The FA Cup gets really exciting come the third round and we have to make sure we are there at that point. For that to happen we will have to overcome a couple of banana-skins.
“I’ve managed Yeovil – a club famous for their giantkillings – so know only too well that you never take any opponents lightly.
“We have to be wary of Stockport for that very reason and ensure we show them respect. But with all due respect to them, we are the big team in this tie.
“Our reputation tends to go before us which is not something we mind, but it does create a lot of cup finals for us.
“Tomorrow will be no different when Stockport will see the match as one in which they have nothing to lose.
“They clearly haven’t done particularly well in their last couple of games, but Paul Simpson is a good manager who has a good football team.
“We need to put a run of results together and get into a situation where people have to earn the right to come into the team. It doesn’t matter what competition it is or who we are playing, we want to win.”
Johnson refused to reveal whether he will again employ the 5-2-1-2 system successfully used in midweek.
Posh are without loan defender Lewin Nyatanga tomorrow who is cup-tied and his absence could mean a return to a flat back four.
But Gaby Zakuani is available to return after coming through training yesterday. The DR Congo ace missed the last two games with an ankle problem.
Johnson added: “I have used that system on several occasions and it’s one I know well.
“It comes in useful when you need to be a bit more solid which is certainly the case for us.
“We needed to turn things around and we needed to give the squad something new to think about.
“It is not a formation you can use in every single game, but it is definitely a good option both to start games and within them.
“I’m not giving anything away about how we might line up at Stockport. We’ll keep them guessing and they won’t find out until we run out tomorrow afternoon.
“Gaby is back in training and it is pleasing to have an experienced defender back in contention.
“The more players we have available the better because it means I can kick more people up the backside if they don’t happen to perform.”
Skipper Grant McCann is also available after serving a one-match suspension in midweek, but George Boyd remains banned for the next two games.