I’d set­tle for be­ing en­ter­tained

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - WORLD OF SPORT - Chief sports writer Alan Swann shares his views

So here we go again. Back on the League One treadmill. Over 6,000 miles to travel this sea­son, most of them to the frozen north, but I’m ac­tu­ally look­ing for­ward to it, masochist that I have be­come.

That’s what an hour in the com­pany of chair­man Dar­ragh MacAn­thony does to a man des­per­ate to be­lieve the hype.

The sales­man supreme man­aged to con­vince me that a host of sign­ings with no League One ex­pe­ri­ence, the ar­rival of an ex-Pre­mier League de­fender who would be treated as a huge trans­fer coup if he wasn’t so in­jury prone, the de­ter­mi­na­tion to play with wing-backs even though the squad lacks any­one with ex­pe­ri­ence of such a spe­cial­ist role, the de­par­ture of the club’s reign­ing playerof-the-year and de­fen­sive rock, the loss to a ri­val from the same di­vi­sion of the best Posh goal­keeper I’ve seen since Ian Ben­nett, and the sale of last sea­son’s top scorer (even though the chair­man ap­peared to be his big­gest fan) won’t in­con­ve­nience a pro­mo­tion push.

(Ac­tu­ally scrap the last point, Tom Ni­chols is a lovely chap, but he never con­vinced me he was re­ally up for a bat­tle).

One thing’s for sure. If Posh do pull off pro­mo­tion it would be the great­est achieve­ment of the MacAn­thony era. The last time League One was left be­hind they had proven per­form­ers in the di­vi­sion, in­clud­ing Grant McCann who now en­ters the cru­cial sec­ond year of his man­age­rial ca­reer.

It’s emerged that McCann’s de­but sea­son was rid­dled with off-field is­sues. If so, and I have no rea­son to doubt the ve­rac­ity of the claim, he hid it bril­liantly.

I’ve never wanted a Posh man­ager to suc­ceed so badly as I have McCann (right). His love of the club is not fake and I sus­pect he’s shrewd enough to have learnt from the mis­takes of last sea­son when a fix­a­tion with the mid­field di­a­mond and poor sub­sti­tu­tions were costly at times.

Do I think Posh will win pro­mo­tion? Not re­ally. Only three of 24 teams are suc­cess­ful every sea­son. It’s a ter­ri­bly dif­fi­cult thing to pull off and luck with in­juries and form is es­sen­tial. A huge fol­low­ing wind is re­quired.

There will be no out­stand­ing team of Sh­effield United’s abil­ity this sea­son, but I sus­pect the gen­eral stan­dard will be higher than in 2016-17.

The likes of Black­burn, Wi­gan and Charl­ton will see them­selves as too good for League One and will push ac­cord­ingly.

The pro­moted teams won’t strug­gle this sea­son and I wouldn’t be sur­prised to see Portsmouth achieve back-to­back pro­mo­tions as they could well have the best man­ager in League One in Kenny Jack­ett.

I’d set­tle for be­ing en­ter­tained while Posh push harder, for a bit longer, for the play-offs and the signs are good in that re­spect.

The strik­ers will be sharp and quick this sea­son and if Steven Tay­lor’s body holds up, Posh might well have the best de­fender in League One on their books.

We all wish Posh well.

Have your say . . . email alan.swann@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk, or twit­ter @PTAlanSwann

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