Well the game against Peterborough has been billed as our biggest test of the season so far. I guess it’s a barometer of how far we have fallen from grace that we are measuring ourselves against such a club, but it’s the situation we find ourselves in and we have to accept it. Jack Ross has been chatting about the opposition ahead of tonight’s clash. “Peterborough are where they are in the table on merit, and there’s nothing I’ve watched of them that wouldn’t suggest they’re going to continue being around those higher positions through the course of the season. They’ve got a lot of goal threats in the forward areas, so for that reason, it’s important we try to put down a marker in terms of showing where we want to be at. We recognise the challenge of the game, but I think we’ve got a lot of players in that squad who have dealt with big games in their careers. If anything, I think this is the type of game they’ll thrive on. They’ll thrive on going up against a team that’s up near the top of the table, and the challenge of them coming here thinking they’re going to win the game. I would expect those big-game players we have to respond to that. When you look back on a successful season, there’s always moments or games that stand out as being really significant,” added Ross. “It would be easy to pretend that’s not the case, but on reflection, there’ll always be times that when you look back, they’re really important. When I was at St Mirren, we played Dundee United in a game around Christmas time and there was two points between the teams. They missed a penalty in the first half, and we went on to score two goals and win the game. That stretched our lead, and we never really looked back from that. When we looked back on it, that penalty save was a really pivotal moment in the season. Obviously, at the time, it doesn’t always feel like that, because you’ve still got so much to do, but there’s no getting away from the fact that this is a big game for us.”
Ross has also been analysing the season so far and how he’s gone about implementing his football philosophies on our club. He said: “I get frustrated because I would like to be further ahead and to have won more games, but that’s how I am - I think I’ve said before that I’m a perfectionist who never quite finds perfection! I don’t think I’ll ever change. Probably I’m not the best at reminding myself where we were and looking at where we are now, sometimes other people are better at that and we keep saying it’s OK. On the pitch, in terms of the actual 90 minutes, we can still get better. Off the pitch in terms of the training, the environment, the changing room, it’s really good. But I know that it is on the pitch that matters and it is the one I will always be judged on. The other one is very important, though, it gives you the platform you need and it should never be underestimated. What we’ve built in the changing room, how the players train, how they understand each other, and the way they have bought into what we do has been really good. It’s just producing it time after time in games. That lack of consistency is a bit due to the number of times we’ve had to chop and change, I think. Max [Power] has been out for a month, Aiden [McGeady] has been out for four months really, Duncan [Watmore] is still not available, Dylan has been in and out at times, so it has been up and down in terms of selection and that has maybe just hampered us a bit. If you look at other teams, although they make changes, they have had a little bit more consistency in terms of selection. Every point you drop hurts - and it should do,” he said. “It always has whichever club I’ve managed. It’s not being unrealistic, but all the work we do in the week and the pressure I put on myself is to win the game on a Saturday, so when we don’t then naturally I feel as though I haven’t done my job properly. Every time we don’t win a game the players are always quiet, and that’s because of the expectancy around this club - and there’s nothing wrong with that. But sometimes I don’t want to show that to the players because I want to maintain that outward positivity. We’re not blowing teams away although we’ve shown flashes of it. In terms of the squad though, we’re rebuilding and it wasn’t a Premier League squad that came into this division that you would expect to be winning League One by 40 points.”
Jack Baldwin faces the club who transfer listed him then sold him to us this summer, despite concerns at the time from Peterborough Chairman Darragh MacAnthony. In reality, Posh boss, Steve Evans, thought that Jack was too nice a player to fit into his ugly route one system. Their loss is our gain. Jack Ross takes up the story. "I’ve been really pleased with Jack, he’s such a nice young man as well. He’s quite driven and ambitious, and he’s played an awful lot of games for a young man. His performance levels have been very good. He’s one of those in the category that we brought in, a player who can help us win promotion but who we also feel could actually come with us on the whole journey. He’s still young, he makes mistakes at times but his general play, his commitment, his quality on the ball, is very good. He’s playing on his wrong side in effect, but he’s shown he’s quite happy using his left foot as well, playing out. He’ll make mistakes because he’s taking on the responsibility to do that but that’s why I don’t mind if he shanks one now and again," Ross added. "You can’t ask him to play and then be on his case. Defensively he can be a little too honest, he wants to do his job so well, we talked a bit about the first goal on Saturday and getting in a position that he can always defend from, but that’s just the learning experience for him. Players in that position usually get better and better as they mature. I’ve been delighted with him, to deal with the pressures of playing here, he’s done remarkably well.”
The Blackpool game, which was due to take place on Saturday 13 October the Stadium of Light, has been postponed because three or more of our players have now been selected for international duty by their respective countries.
All 2,628 tickets for Bradford City away, on Saturday 6 October, are now sold out. You can book transport for Bradford via ALS here…