Peterborough United: “It’ll be a big ask for automatics.”

"League One is home to some big clubs right now, so it’s going to be very competitive." - Despite a run of three wins from four league games, Alex Batt is certainly not getting carried away about Peterborough's promotion chances…

Matthew Crist

Peterborough raced into the League One play-off places thanks to a convincing 4-1 win against Forest Green on Tuesday night.

The victory capped an incredible turnaround for a side that, just a month ago, couldn’t buy a win as pressure grew on manager Grant McCann.

Between August 23 and September 17, Posh suffered six consecutive losses in all competition as faith in McCann was firmly tested.

But it’s now three wins from four and United are unbeaten since the final loss of that period – a 1-0 defeat away at Bolton Wanderers just over a month ago.

So are the London Road faithful dreaming of a swift return to the Championship having suffered relegation last season or is it a case of keeping feet firmly on the ground for now?

“I think we’re all dreaming of a promotion push,” Peterborough fan Alex Batt tells FansBet.

“But the reality may be that we fall short, just because of the size of some of the clubs in League One that are currently above us.

“It’ll be a big ask for automatic places and a hard battle to get play-offs too.

“League One is a seriously hard league this year.”

United appointed Grant McCann for a second time back in February with the Northern Irishman previously being in charge between 2016 and 2018.

He also represented the club as a player – making 159 appearances over five years – and returned to the dugout to replaced the outgoing Darren Ferguson.

Popular boss Ferguson, who resigned despite signing a new three-and-a-half-year deal only three months prior, left Peterbrough five points adrift in the Championship drop zone with 15 games to go.

And, despite a gallant effort to preserve the club’s second tier status, McCann could not prevent Posh from slipping into League One after just one solitary season back at that level.

All eyes will now be on McCann to prove his worth as one of the most respected young coaches in the league as he looks to guide Peterborough back to the second tier of English football.

“If I’m being honest, I haven’t seen massive amounts of change from the Grant McCann we had the first time around,” explains Alex.

“He’s still a bit too cautious for my liking and we’re still struggling against clubs lower than us in the league, and failing more often than not away from home.”

The future looked bright for McCann and Peterborough as they began the new campaign with a 3-0 win over Morecambe on the opening day of the season and followed that up with a 2-0 away win at Plymouth in the Carabao Cup.

But things quickly turned sour with four successive league defeats as fans’ patience with the manager wore thin with some even calling for his head.

Ten points from a possible 12 has catapulted United up to fourth place, yet they still remain eight points adrift of Ipswich and nine behind table toppers Plymouth.

Grant McCann Peterborough 2022

So despite this recent revival being enough to propel Posh up the table and ease the pressure on McCann, Alex is certainly not getting too carried away when it comes to his expectations for this season.

“It’s been a good run following a very poor run, but the games on paper were all very winnable, so I can’t get too excited just yet,” he says.

“A couple of those defeats were in the cup, with weakened sides, so nothing to be too concerned about there, while a couple were against tough opposition away from home.

“Dropping points at home to Burton is more concerning in my eyes as we simply have to beat teams like that at home, and we have to beat the teams we have beaten, so it’s a case of feet still firmly on the ground.

“The Fleetwood game at home was really the only disastrous result in truth – it was simply a tough run followed by an easier run, hence the change of results and fortunes.

United will have to show title-winning form for the rest of the season to have any chance of overhauling the current top two of Plymouth Argyle and Ipswich Town.

The club were propelled to promotion the last time they were in League One two seasons ago by a six-match winning run in the second-half of the season.

But Posh have lost five league matches already this season having only tasted defeat 11 times in the entire 2020/21 campaign.

So what does Alex think is a realistic target for McCann’s men come May?

“We have to get play-offs really as anything less is probably deemed a failure.

“Is it realistic? Absolutely. Will it be tough? Yes.

“League One is home to some big clubs right now, so it’s going to be very competitive.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we just missed out on play-offs, but we need to be in the mix at the very least.”

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