Tim Stoodley looks ahead to Tuesday night's FA Cup tie with Notts County.
The Emirates FA Cup rolls into the ABAX this week, alongside the television cameras, as Peterborough United take on Sky Bet League Two side Notts County (7.45pm). The game is poised with an extra incentive as the winners of this one face a trip to Premiership leaders Chelsea in January.
The first-leg of this tie will still be fresh in the memory of Posh fans, dominating the opening twenty minutes before a goal and a dismissal changed the game in County's favour. Posh have won both of their games since playing County on December 4th, while in contrast, the struggling Nottinghamshire outfit have lost 0-2 and 1-2 to Wycombe Wanderers and Colchester United respectively. Notts now occupy 20th in League Two and haven't won in the league since October. However, they proved in the first leg of this battle that league form is secondary to cup antics and they'll be hoping that this proves true again on Tuesday evening.
County lined up in a traditional 4-4-2 in the first outing of these two sides, but have recently been sporting a 3-5-2 in the league, and so it remains to be seen which formation takes favour against Posh. So far this season they've tended to be forced into counter-attacking football but with plenty of experience available to Sheridan's side, they have to be respected regardless of how they shape up.
Many Peterborough fans were surprised to see Alan Smith amongst the substitutes at Meadow Lane, but the former Newcastle and Manchester United man is actually in his third campaign in Nottinghamshire. He clocked up 28 appearances last season, but has only started on seven occasions this term. There's familiar names up front as well as Jonathan Forte and Jon Stead run the attacking line for County.
Barbados-affiliated Forte is in his first season at County, and the 30 year-old has settled quickly, notching five goals so farf. Interestingly, Forte is actually in his third spell at the club and is held in high regard by the clubs fans.
Forte, alongside Smith, are just two players in County's line-ups that are heading into the prime and twilights of their career. The team has an average age of nearly 27 years old, that's one of the highest, not just for League Two, but the EFL as a whole. Peterborough's named squad racks up an average age of just 22.
Posh and County have now done battle an impressive 45 times, with Posh winning 19 and County taking the spoils on 12 occasions. Posh's biggest ever home-win against County came back in the old division three in the 1963/64 season, when 'Boro ran out 5-1 winners. More recently, and Posh thumped their opponents 5-2 back in the 2003/04 season. Goals from Curtis Woodhouse, Dave Farrell, Andy Clarke and a brace from Richard Logan, took the points on that occasion.
Peterborough remain without the services of Jack Baldwin and Jermaine Anderson through injury. Marcus Maddison also remains a doubt, having missed the last two games with a knock. For County, they will have to make do without the services of Michael O'Connor, who is currently suspended.
The key figures:
League positions; Peterborough United - 6th (L1) Notts County - 20th (L2)
Last five; Peterborough United - WLDWW Notts County - LLDLL
Previous meeting; 04/12/2016 (FA Cup) - Notts County 2-2 Peterborough United
Average attendances (2015/16); Peterborough United - 5,447 Notts County - 4,860
Top Scorer (league); Peterborough United - Gwion Edwards (7) Notts County - Jon Stead (9)
Interesting fact: Mega-club Juventus modelled their famous black-and-white kit, still worn today, on that of Notts County's 1903 outfit.
In advance, tickets cost £12 for adults, £8 for seniors and 18-21 year olds and just £3 for under 18's, regardless of which stand the tickets are purchased for. Tickets rise by £3 on-the-day for adults, and £2 for all other pricing categories. Caroline Hand Executive suite packages are also available for this game, priced at just £25 for adults and £15 concessions. This price includes tea/coffee, cakes and a match day programme.
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.