Well this is the big one for the family on Kings Hill. Not literally, of course, that would come if we win tonight. As already mentioned, my father-in-law is a Posh fan, and I would "Love it if we beat them!" Not that there is any question as to which is the biggest club, and when my son (who is four in May) asks about Grandad's club, I can always mention the 5-1 win at the Valley in April 1994. However, it would be nice to have a more recent event to look back upon. It would also make those Sunday dinners more fun for me. Or a lot less fun, of course.
Anyway I'm getting ahead of myself, we need to win tonight first. I would expect to see the same starting eleven as Saturday. Perhaps Thomas for Ambrose, but I thought Ambrose looked good on Saturday and offers something different to Thomas, who I would expect to be given a run out either way. For me, the question is whether Pardew believes that 4-4-2 is strong enough defensively away from home. I would like to think this would be a good test against quality opposition before the game at Watford on Saturday.
So, what will Pardew do? As mentioned previously I think there is going to be a place for the 4-5-1 away from home, but his comments about us having played the top six away after Saturday could give a clue as to his intentions to go out to win every game. Thus we may well have seen the last of the 4-5-1, but I also think that in this league it helps to have different options, and to keep the opposition guessing, so we might have to use it a couple of times between now and the end of the season. It might, also, be really useful in the play-offs if we end up in that lottery come May.
With the home Cup game a better reflection than the league game away, due to the two club's aspirations, I am more confident of a win than the bookies who are offering 10/3 for us to win in 90 minutes. Extra time and penalties doesn't bear thinking about. After Blackpool I am more confident of a win tonight, and due to the prize available for those concerned in my family I am desperate for one. So Come on Pardew, put the same side out, let's take the game to them and see if we can't find something for me to wind my father-in-law up about.