After recent displays – most noticeably Middlesbrough in the FA Cup and Luton away in the league – Steve Evans might breathe a sigh of relief that his head isn’t on the chopping block just yet. But with the entire season under the microscope, there’s a couple of key points that mean Big Steve should be given until the end of the season to revive Posh’ promotion bid.
1. Although Posh have badly performed in certain matches, the sustained promotion effort has been there.
This might be a startling statement for some Posh supporters, who like to give into hyperbole instead of being realistic with their expectations. But Posh’ promotion attempt hasn’t quite dived off the proverbial cliff just yet. Under previous managers, such as Graham Westley, Posh’ promotion drive took such a nosedive that Peterborough had to settle for mid-table mediocrity. Grant McCann tried to sustain a promotion push, but ultimately failed before being given the sack.
Steve Evans, although his Posh side have floundered worryingly at spark points in the season, have managed to maintain 6th spot as their own (even if the previously mentioned McCann – now manager of Doncaster – fall one place behind) With Posh and Donny the two main competitors for that last playoff spot, Evans has matched expectations and thus should be given until the end of the season to match them. If not, then the aggrieved Posh supporters have evidence to sit next to their annoyance after defeats.
2. Evans had to rebuild this squad, and although some haven’t paid off, a key few have really helped Posh this season.
I think it’s underestimated slightly the colossal job Evans took on in the summer – previous squads had players who simply didn’t give you enough to get over the line, and thus they had to be sold to make way for more-hungry, exciting players. Moreover, Jack Marriott’s expected departure was always going to be a tough task to try and replace. Although you have the Colin Daniels and Mark O’Haras of the world, you also have Ivan Toney who has certainly been an adequate replacement for the outgoing Marriott. Matt Godden, although he has become goal-shy recently, has also performed in that striker role in the absence of Posh’ main man last season – Posh, this season, when one player doesn’t perform a sidekick can come to their rescue.
Other players, although they haven’t sustained their performances per se, have shown flashes of brilliance – Siriki Dembele‘s fast pace and trickery has caught the eye of Posh spectators, but sometimes his lack of tracking back can cost Posh when the opposition counter attack. Even so, Dembele has been a worthwhile buy, especially with Gwion Edwards no longer in the building. Therefore, for all of the poor purchases, Posh have stepped up to the mark with the signings this summer especially with the number joining under Big Steve.
3. Steve Evans is a serial promotion winner, whether you hate or love the man.
This is the crucial point, the main factor as to why Darragh gave Steve all of those signings in the summer and the reason as to why I think Posh can still win an unlikely promotion. Brutal and efficient, Steve Evans has won promotions with Crawley and Rotherham (the promotion with Rotherham sticks out as that was from the same division Posh have found themselves marooned in). Steve Evans’ sides are also categorically better in the second halves of their campaigns – therefore, it shouldn’t be such an angry reaction from Posh fans whenever their side flounder. As, with Big Steve at the helm, these poor days should be trumped by better ones as the league campaign nears towards the final few months. But, with Posh usually doing this, I can see why pessimism is festering within the fan base.
Those are just 3 key points as to why I think Big Steve should stay on as Posh manager, Posh fans need to realise that this division has a whole host of juggernauts in it (Portsmouth for example) and that we are managing expectations from Darragh himself. The recent form hasn’t exactly been picture-perfect, but with the latter stages of the season coming soon and Big Steve’s own admission that his sides come to the forefront during this time period, I think it’s time we put the moaning to one side and all cheer on the Posh to a promotion they can still achieve. If they fail here, then a defence for Steve Evans can’t exist.