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Paolo's Posh Preview: Crewe Alexandra

Peterborough United return to League One action today as they welcome Crewe Alexandra, kick-off at 3pm.
posh-crewe
It's been a tough week for Posh, but they'll be looking for redemption against Crewe (Photo: PA Images)

It has been a miserable week for Posh in terms of results, after they failed to pick up victories against Bristol Rovers and Shrewsbury Town, and were knocked out of EFL Trophy on Tuesday night.

However, Darren Ferguson's men will be eager to redeem themselves and get back to winning ways, starting with a victory over a potential playoff candidate in Crewe Alexandra, who they lost to earlier in the season at the Alexandra Stadium.

Team news and predicted line-up

Ferguson made eight changes to the team who lost to Tranmere Rovers on Tuesday night, with goalkeeper Christy Pym, defenders Niall Mason and Nathan Thompson, and midfielder Ethan Hamilton keeping their places in the starting eleven. He was forced to bring on Mark Beevers, Jonson Clarke-Harris and Sammie Szmodics to try and swing the tie in their favour, but those players couldn't mount a comeback for Posh.

Jack Taylor, who limped off with a calf injury in the defeat against Shrewsbury Town, has been training this week and could make a return to the matchday squad. Frankie Kent is set to return on Saturday after missing the last two matches with a concussion.

Ronnie Edwards is also unavailable for selection with a muscular problem and is expected to be out for up to eight weeks.

Attention for Posh is now turned to securing promotion to the Championship and the Posh boss will be hoping resting his players mid-week means his side can give 100% across another busy few weeks.

Predicted line-up: Pym; Ward, Thompson, Beevers, Kent, Butler; Hamilton, Brown, Szmodics; Clarke-Harris and Dembele. 

Opposition View

Recent form - WDLDW

Crewe Alexandra is enjoying their first season back in League One, comfortably sitting ninth in League One and level on points with Sunderland in the final playoff spot. However, they have played significantly more fixtures than anyone else in League One with 27 games played, three more than Posh. Yet that shouldn't overshadow the terrific work David Artell has done.

The Railwaymen enter today's game on the back of a 1-0 victory over Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday -- the same side that managed to beat Posh 2-0 the Saturday before. Despite that, it hasn't been the best two weeks for Artell's side; they've pickes up just two victories and three draws in five games, including a 1-1 against AFC Wimbledon.

Crewe has the 15th best away form in League One, winning only four times in 13 games, and will be facing a Posh side that has lost just once at home this season.

Earlier in the season we spoke to Crewe supporter Ant Evans, and we caught up with him again to see get his views on Crewe's season so far and the player he fears the most at Posh.

"We're having a really solid season back in League One, we were just outside the playoffs when we beat Posh back in November, and not much has changed! It's great to still be in the mix in February. 

"Sammie Szmodics is a player I always look out for! Siriki Dembele was kept really quiet at Gresty Road and looked really frustrated as the game went on, however, he's good talent at this level.

On the key player/s for Crewe, he said: "Stand out is difficult because we are having such a good season. Ryan Wintle, Omar Beckles and Mika Mandoran are all having solid seasons. In terms of danger men to look out for: our left side of Pickering and Kirk are the best partnerships in League One - a lot of teams struggle to handle them!"

Previous meeting

These two sides met earlier in the season, and it was Crewe that claimed the three points.

Pickering opened the scoring just before half an hour mark after stepping up to drive a free-kick into the bottom-left corner.

Artell's side grabbed a second four minutes before the break, as Niall Mason's cross-field pass was intercepted by Kirk, who raced clear and slotted the ball beyond Pym.

Posh struggled to make an impact on the game and keeper Will Jaaskelainen was rarely troubled for Crewe. The 2-0 defeat saw Posh's first loss in nine games and was the catalyst for a drop in form in the subsequent weeks, with losses to Blackpool and AFC Wimbledon.

However, in more positive news, Ferguson's side hasn't lost to Crewe at home since 1994.

PeterboroughMatters prediction

It has been a miserable week for Posh, two defeats on the bounce and no win in three games. This is a big week ahead for Ferguson and his men to regain confidence and re-find their scoring boots, starting with Crewe today.

Posh 2-1 Crewe Alexandra

Ant Evans prediction: "We rarely keep a clean sheet and Posh like to play good football like ourselves, so I'm expecting goals. 2-2."