Tim Stoodley looks ahead to the Boxing Day meeting with Gillingham at the ABAX Stadium.
Peterborough United return to Sky Bet League One action this Monday (Boxing Day) as Kent-side Gillingham head to the ABAX Stadium (3pm). The Gills are currently sitting mid-table after a mixed start to the campaign.
Gillingham are currently on a seven game streak which sees their form alternating win-loss-win-loss. Their last game was a solid 1-0 win over MK Dons, so the form guides would predict a defeat for Justin Edinburgh's men - but we all know that football doesn't work that way!
The season so far has been nothing to write home about for The Gills fans. Their side have spent the entire campaign floating around the lower half of the table, but with unpredictable results and several players to watch, they aren't a team McCann's men can take lightly.
In particular Bradley Dack is one-to-watch for Gillingham. The cultured midfielder heads into yet another transfer window where he looks to avoid speculation to a move away from the MEMS Priestfield Stadium. He's helped his team with two goals this campaign and is a tireless work horse in the middle of the pitch.
Experienced defender Paul Konchesky is a name many Posh fans will be familiar with, and he has featured as a regular in the Gills line-up this campaign. Indeed, despite being 35-years old, the stalwart has played more minutes than any other Gills player this season.
On the attacking front, former Norwich and Coventry City striker, Cody McDonald, presents perhaps the biggest threat to the Posh back-line. He's netted five times this season. Although the biggest attacking-threat actually comes from the midfield in the shape of former Arsenal trainee Jay Emmanuel-Thomas. He's top-scored with seven this campaign and has a healthy return of a goal every 2.5 games.
It's expected that Gillingham will play in a 4-3-3 formation with Emmanuel-Thomas supporting McDonald up front. It's a formation which has worked well at home, but has struggled on the road. Their recent 4-0 defeat away at Bolton is testament of this.
This tie will be Gill's manager Justin Edinburgh's 99th game in charge of the club. A run which has seen a win-rate of 39%. His greatest achievement would be guiding The Gills to a play-off position last season, only to lose out on the final day.
The match official for this one is Graham Horwood, who is taking charge of his 19th game this season. He averages nearly four cautions a game and has shown five red cards so far this term. He last took charge of Posh as recently as September, when he was at The ABAX for the league game against Port Vale. He actually sent Andrew Hughes off on that occasion, as well as giving Vale an injury time penalty to level the game. He also cautioned Michael Bostwick, Leo Da Silva Lopes and Paul Taylor.
Posh share a good relationship with Gillingham, having played against them in a few recent friendlies, but in competitive fixtures the spoils are actually split evenly; the two sides have played one another 44 times, with both teams taking the points on 13 occasions. That makes a draw the most common result when these two collide. The most recent fixture came in January when the pair met in Kent in a league encounter. Gillingham ran out 2-1 winners on that occasion with Erhun Oztumer the goal-scorer for Peterborough.
The key figures:
League positions; Peterborough United - 6th Gillingham - 12th
Last five; Peterborough United - LDWWW Gillingham - WLWLW
Previous meeting; 23/01/2016 (Sky Bet League One) - Gillingham 2-1 Peterborough United
Average attendances (2015/16); Peterborough United - 5,447 Gillingham - 6,316
Top Scorer (league); Peterborough United - Gwion Edwards (7) Gillingham - Jay Emmanuel-Thomas (7)
Interesting face: Gillingham manager, Justin Edinburgh, owns two Toni & Guy hair salons with a business partner.
Tickets are on sale at www.theposhtickets.com, via the Ticketmaster hotline 0844 847 1934* and in person at the ABAX Stadium Box Office.
*calls cost 7ppm plus your network access fee.