Tim Stoodley looks ahead to Saturday's trip to Bradford City.
Peterborough United look to bounce back after paying the penalty against Millwall on Tuesday night, with another test against a side around them in the league table. This time Posh head North to The Northern Commercials Stadium and a SkyBet League One tie against Bradford City (Saturday, 3pm).
The Bantams are flying high in League One and currently occupy fifth spot, some six points ahead of 'Boro. They're in fair-to-middling form of late with a host of draws to their name. Much like Tuesday's opponents they have a knack of avoiding defeat and apart from a narrow loss to Fleetwood, are otherwise unbeaten in their last eight outings. They've drawn five of those eight matches, so Stuart McCall's men are currently looking nailed-on for a play-off spot, but need to start converting points into prizes, and they'll be hoping to achieve just that against a wounded Peterborough side this weekend.
Bradford have two defined formations, a 4-1-3-2 that they tend to favour away from home, and a traditional 4-4-2 when playing in front of their fans. They'll be expected to take hold of the game against us and will enter the match as favourites. They usually favour a traditional and direct approach at home, with long balls to the target men up front. They have a similar squad to Posh in terms of age, market value and squad size, so it's interesting to see how both clubs have fared so far this season. They utilise a usual starting 11 when at home, so Posh should have a good idea of who to do their homework on ahead of this one.
One such player to feature regularly is former Poshie, defender Nathaniel Knight-Percival. He's usually seen on the left side of centre-back but has also been used on the left wing in recent games. Knight-Percival made 46 appearances for 'Boro, before he left for Shrewsbury back in 2014. He has settled in well in Yorkshire and has become fondly viewed by The Bantams regulars. He's the clubs fourth-highest capped player this season, with nearly 3000 minutes of game time under his belt.
The main goal threat from City comes in the form of January signing Charlie Wyke. He joined for an undisclosed fee on deadline day and has gone on to notch four goals in just six appearances. He's still only a youngster at 24, having come through the ranks at Middlesbrough. He's best known though for his time at Carlise, where he scored 32 goals in 77 matches. He's played every game since joining in January, so expect him to lead the line against the 'Boro boys.
The creative heart-beat of the side is midfielder Nicky Law. The Sheffield United product is in his third spell at Bradford, after two previous loan signings. He's top of the assist charts for The Bantams and usually occupies either the left wing or centre-mid. Law's most successful spell came in Scotland with Rangers, for whom he played 86 times, scoring 20 goals. He was also a key assist maker in their journey back into the Scottish Premier League. Law has a fantastic first touch and is quite happy to unleash 30-yard stunners. He also has fantastic off-the-ball positioning skills.
Bradford legend Stuart McCall is Grant McCann's opposite number for this one. McCall featured for City nearly 400 times in his career and is in his third spell in the top job as manager. He naturally has a passion for the club and is well loved by the fans. He's also had management spells in Scotland with Motherwell and Rangers, although his stay with The Gers lasted just 17 games. He's taken charge of 368 games in his management career and has a win ratio of 38%. Grant McCann's is currently 43% from 48 games.
In charge of this one is Mr Brett Huxtable, who is refereeing Posh for the second time this campaign. He oversaw our 0-1 defeat to AFC Wimbledon at The ABAX back in October. Paul Taylor and Gwion Edwards on the end of cautions for that game. Interestingly he's never officiated Bradford, or been to The Northern Commercials Stadium before - but this is his first season in charge on the football league. Saturday will be game 31 for Huxtable and in the 30 games thus far this season , he's shown 105 yellows, that's an average of 3.5 per game, and he's dismissed players twice.
Bradford were 1-0 winners when the pair met at The ABAX stadium back in August. A solitary Jordy Hiwula-Mayifuila goal was enough to give The Bantams the three points, and they'll be hoping to pull off the double with a similar result come Saturday. Posh do actually have the better record against Bradford. The duo have battled it out on 33 occasions, with Posh winning 13 times to City's 10. In this tie last season goals from Lee Angol and Chris Forrester were enough to give 'Boro a 0-2 win. The pair have only met outside of the league once and that was a League Cup tie in 1978 which Posh won.
Harry Anderson has returned to fitness, leaving Jermaine Anderson and Gwion Edwards as the only long-term injury sufferers. Jack Baldwin has one more match on his suspension to serve, so won't be available for this game.
The Northern Commercials Stadium, formerly known as Valley Parade, is an odd-looking place to visit. The ground has been completely rebuilt since the 80's but the initial impression is that one side is twice as big as the other. The Kop End and Main Stand are large, two-tiered affairs while the remaining two stands are much smaller in comparison. Posh fans will be located in one of the smaller stands, the 'double-decker' stand, called the TL Dallas Stand, which is at one end of the ground. Bradford is known to be a friendly, fun and non-threatening day out for away supporters.
There's a bit of a trek if travelling to this one by train. Bradford Interchange is the station you'll come into from Peterborough and there is a 20 minute hike to get to the ground. Alternatively you could grab a taxi (£5), or use the nearby bus station and grab bus 622, 623, 626 or 662. Car drivers won't fair much better here unfortunately, there's limited street parking around the ground itself, and with the absence of any major car parks, it's better to plan in advance for this one. If driving, use post code BD8 7DY.
Better news comes when it's time for a drink! There's a few pubs nearby which welcome away fans. The Bradford Arms on Manningham Lane is only two minutes from the ground and welcomes travelling supporters, so is the most obvious choice. Please note though - alcohol is not available within the ground. On the feeding front a pie will cost you £3.20 a brew will set you back £2.20 - which is 40p more than the median for League One.
The key figures:
League positions; Bradford City - 5th Peterborough United - 8th
Last five; Bradford City - DLDWD Peterborough United - WLLWL
Previous meeting; 13/09/2016 (Sky Bet League One) - Peterborough United 0-1 Bradford City
Average attendances (2015/16); Bradford City - 18,090 Peterborough United - 5,447
Top Scorer (league); Bradford City - Jordy Hiwula-Mayifuila (8) Peterborough United - Tom Nichols (9)
Interesting fact - In the BBC's 'price of football' production for the 2015/16 season, they found that not only were ticket prices cheaper at Bradford City than any other League One club, but that the amount spent per goal was also the best in the league, with a goal coming every £4.66 spent. In comparison, second placed Coventry was way behind at £6.77. Peterborough were ninth best, at The ABAX a goal comes every £7.02 spent.
This game is not all-ticket for Posh fans, but you should be aware that prices increase by a hefty £5 on-the-day. In advance, tickets are priced as follows; Adults £20, OAP's (over 60) £15, students (with valid ID) £15, Under 16s £10 and U11s £5.
Tickets are on sale at www.theposhtickets.com, via the Ticketmaster hotline 0844 847 1934* and in person at the ABAX Stadium Box Office. Coach travel is also available to members and non-members, from the Posh Box Office and online.
*calls cost 7ppm plus your network access fee.