Date:Friday January 2 2009
Posh travel to the Hawthorns, with an anticipated away support numbering close to 4500, to take on Premier League side, West Bromwich Albion, in an FA Cup third round tie.
Whilst the FA Cup remains a glamorous competition you get the feeling that given a choice, promotion from League One is the option those at London Road would take if offered.
Perhaps it`s fair to say our recent 4-0 loss to Leicester provided a wake up call with regards to the harsh realities football can provide. Leicester are without doubt the best team in League One and here we are preparing to play a team two divisions above us in the pecking order. To win would be marvellous but, as Darren Ferguson has rightly said, it`ll be a tall order.
Speaking about the clash, Darren had this to say,
"It's a cliche, but it's also a fact that we will have to be at our best and they will have to have an off day."
'It's going to take a superb performance from us to pull it off, but the players are up for it, they are confident and they're looking foward to the challenge."
I guess we`ll have a fair indication of how seriously West Brom will be taking the competition when Tony Mowbray hands in his team sheet. With a relegation battle looming he may decide to play a few of those who do not make his regular starting eleven.
Amongst these could be his most recent signing, and ex-Posh target, Jay Simpson, wouldn`t it be so cruel if he were to feature prominently?
Mowbray will welcome back Paul Robinson after the player has completed his suspension fro five bookings but has fitness doubts about Zuiverloon, Morrison and Koren.
He will select his starting eleven from the following squad:
Carson, Zuiverloon, Barnett, Olsson, Cech, Morrison, Valero, Greening, Brunt, Moore, Bednar, Simpson, Robinson, Koren, Dorrans, Hoeskens, Beattie, Kiely, De-Heon, MacDonald, Donk.
Memories of this fellow dictating matters in both cup games last season fill me with angst. Posh, get a hold of him tomorrow or else we`re history!
Darren Ferguson has only one injury doubt, Tom Williams. The dependable full back has been struggling with a knee injury and Ferguson has the difficult choice of whether to select him for the Cup tie, or keep him for the important clash with MK Dons, on Tuesday. Unfortunately, William`s knee will not stand up to both games.
Elsewhere, Gabriel Zakuani, now a full time permanent member of the Posh squad following the opening of the January transfer window, will take a place at the heart of the defence alongside Craig Morgan. Charlie Lee, who has been playing at the heart of the defence will be hoping for a midfield role.
Definitely out of contention for a stating place is Andrew Crofts. The midfielder, on loan from Gillingham is cup tied.
Coveted by several clubs in either the Championship or lower reaches of the Premier League, the Hawthorns provides the ideal stage for Craig to show exactly what he can do.
Last season, as we all know, West Brom knocked us out of both domestic cup competitions at London Road with Posh failing to trouble the scorers.
Beyond that, there are no further clashes between the two sides.
Kevin Friend of Leicestershire will be the man in charge.
This is a game we`ve all been waiting for, the chance to pull off a cup upset, a cup upset given more credence due to the fact our opponents knocked us out of both domestic cup competitions last season. Despite their poor league form, West Brom will provide a stern test and it`s important Posh do not concede an early goal, as we did at Leicester recently. If we can survive those first twenty-five minutes or so I have this feeling that we`ll be bringing West Brom back to London Road for a replay. Here at Vital Posh we`ll go for a 1-1 draw with Mackail-Smith being the Posh player on target. If I`m right, the replay will be on Tuesday 13th January 2009
Our next fixture sees us entertain fellow League One high-flyers MK Dons on Tuesday evening. A six-pointer anyone?
Date:Friday January 2 2009
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