Posh boss Dave Robertson has named Michael Bostwick as his team captain for the new season.
At the end of the squad's training camp in Ireland, we sat down with manager Dave Robertson to get his thoughts on the players' performances in training and matches, the depth of his squad and found out who the new captain would be for the new campaign.
Q: You must be delighted with the players for their performances not just in training, but in the friendly fixture with Cliftonville?
A: The players have been very good in training and most importantly in the match against Cliftonville - it is that transferable skills that we are looking for in preparation for the 8th August and as we stand, the players have a good understanding of what we expect of them in the games tactically and technically on how quick they are playing. We ask them to be a little bit sharper with their movements, but it is pleasing how many goals we have scored and the chances that we have created in front of goal. For me, everything is on track, we are not getting complacent because we are not there yet, we are not getting carried away with a 6-0 win, we need to build from it and move on to the next one.
Q: The facilities at Carton House in Ireland have been perfect, how important was finding the right venue for a pre-season training camp?
A: The facilities have been second to none. The hospitality has been first class, the people are welcoming and the pitches have been great. I can't speak highly enough of the place. The fact that Manchester City are sending a squad here when we leave and later on, the Irish rugby team are spending nine weeks here to prepare for the World Cup says everything you need to know about the facilities. We have prepared well for Saturday's game against a Tottenham XI at the ABAX Stadium and it is a chance for our fans to see the progression that is being made in terms of our attacking free flowing style of play that we are introducing.
Q: Three weeks into pre-season, what are you looking for in the next few weeks from your players ahead of the season opener at Rochdale?
A: I was expecting the players to understand the foundations of what we wanted to implement tactically in the first three weeks and as we move forward, we will be doing a lot of repetition to enforce those messages. We will evaluate the matches and work on those areas we need to improve on. We will be getting sharper and quicker and I am confident we will be peaking for that first game, but more importantly, for the 46 games across the campaign. It is a marathon not a sprint and we need to start brightly but maintain those levels throughout the League One season. Promotion is the aim and it is what everyone is working towards.
Q: Has there been any players who have surprised you during pre-season?
A: It hasn't surprised me that some players have progressed as much as they have. I knew that when we signed these players they just needed to be given a chance. I knew they would develop. I had five players in the youth group myself last year and I know what they are capable of. For me, everything is going to plan. The senior players have helped those younger lads with their development, but their performances in training and in the matches has helped them settle into the group quickly and be accepted. Hopefully, those younger lads can play their part this season.
Q: People have said from the outside that the squad is not big enough or has enough depth to it, how would you refute those claims?
A: I know what my plan is in my mind. There are a couple of areas that I would like to strengthen in and I will speak to the chairman about that, but we only need one or two players. The squad has great strength in the starting XI and I believe it is a promotion-winning starting XI. We just need to add a bit more support to provide a bit of cover for that group and ensure we are not caught short, but we have a lot of talented younger players pushing for places. The players coming in have to be the right person, they have to buy into what we want to achieve this season, which is promotion.
Q: Could you tell us the Posh skipper for the new season?
A: The captain is important. We have leaders in the squad. Since we took over, those players have really demonstrated that. This year's skipper on the pitch will be Michael Bostwick. 'Bozzy' is a fantastic person, he is great with the young lads and is a strong senior pro. When selecting a captain, there are a number of things you consider, but the main thing for me is that on the pitch he is a fantastic player, a great leader and for me, that was a simple decision. The vice-captain, in any absence of Michael, will be Ben Alnwick. Ben is another strong natural leader within the group. He has a strong personality and he is an excellent goalkeeper. His performances have been very good for us. I am also going to have a club captain, somebody who epitomises the football club, someone who understands the football club inside out and will support the rest of our players in understanding that and that will be Gabriel Zakuani. He has been here a number of years now, he fully understands the club inside out and is a natural choice in that role. For me, I have three very good people in those roles, they love this football club and have the leadership qualities that I want in the dressing room and on the pitch.