When Grant McCann returned to Peterborough for his second spell as manager just six weeks ago, the club’s fate looked all but sealed with a return to English football’s third-tier merely a formality.
Yet Posh kept their slim Championship survival hopes alive with a narrow win at Barnsley on Monday to all but confirm the Tykes’ relegation to League One.
And Reading’s unlikely 4-4 draw with Swansea the same afternoon means that McCann’s side still have an outside chance of avoiding the drop thanks to an impressive end-of-season recovery.
They now trail the Royals – the only team they can catch – by seven points and live to fight another day, even if their stay of execution is merely a temporary one.
Posh will still be relegated at home to Nottingham Forest on Saturday if they do not better Reading’s result at Hull, though the fact they haven’t gone down without a fight is more than encouraging for everyone at London Road.
“Our recent form has been really impressive,” Peterborough fan Alex Batt tells FansBet.
“Yes, we’ll still get relegated, which is a massive shame, but we’re going down fighting rather than with a whimper and it can give us hope and the players hope for a successful campaign next season.
“It’s actually pretty exciting looking ahead to next season.”
United appointed Grant McCann as their new manager for a second time back in February with the Northern Irishman previously being in charge between 2016 and 2018.
McCann also represented the club as a player, making 159 appearances with the 41-year-old replacing Darren Ferguson, who resigned in February despite signing a new three-and-a-half-year deal only three months prior.
The club is currently on a season-best four-game unbeaten run and have now won back-to-back matches for only the second time this campaign.
In fact, Posh have lost only two of their last nine league games and are 7th in the table in that period, but it may well be a case of too little, too late.
“I’ve been pretty impressed with the start to life under Grant McCann for a second time,” reveals Alex.
“We’ve had some concerning performances, Hull, Huddersfield and Middlesbrough spring to mind, but overall, he’s done a good job of making us look like we aren’t totally out of our depth at this level.
“I’ll still sit on the fence when it comes to his appointment though as whoever we hired was never going to keep us up, so the real judgment will come next season and where we are at Christmas.
“He’s certainly done as well as he could have done, bar the odd couple of poor displays, though time will tell.”
When fan-favourite Ferguson departed London Road less than three months ago, Peterborough were bottom of the Championship with relegation all but a formality.
A last-gasp winner for Wayne Rooney’s Derby County on February 19th saw Posh drop below the stricken Rams in the table, some five points adrift of safety and staring a return to the third-tier squarely in the face.
But since the arrival of McCann, Posh have gradually improved over time and go into Saturday’s match against high-flying Forest with survival still a mathematical possibility, so does Alex think that the club should have made the change sooner?
“Three things cost Peterborough this season,” he explains.
“The recruitment in the summer was appalling, for which I could go on about all day.
“The pre-season and fitness levels, or lack of fitness, for the first few months were embarrassing and the decision to keep Fergie for as long as we did – he even had to walk off his own back.
“If we recruited better, had a better pre-season and reacted to the managerial situation quicker, who knows what could’ve happened? Hindsight is a wonderful thing, though.
“As I said earlier, the end to this season has certainly given us some hope and excitement for next season though as League One is a tough, tough league with some sleeping giants in there.
“However, the last few weeks have certainly got us feeling positive and excited about what we can achieve next year.”
Leave a comment
Follow Matthewjcrist on Twitter