Mike Holden on the EFL: Posh can hand Evans dream start

Peterborough defender Steven Taylor
Peterborough have enough talent at their disposal to make light work of Charlton
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Steve Evans starts life as Peterborough boss with an appetising clash against Charlton and he can be trusted to make an immediate impact, leapfrogging the Addicks in the table with victory...

"Posh have shown an appetite for big games on home soil, beating four of the top six at London Road. Against the same opposition, Charlton have fired blanks in six out of seven matches - home and away - picking up just four points from a possible 21."

New manager bounce likely at London Road

Peterborough v Charlton
League One, Saturday 15:00 GMT

Never one to exaggerate, Steve Evans reckons he will be the proudest man alive when he takes charge of Peterborough for the first time this weekend.

The Glaswegian settled in the area 30 years ago and insists he has harboured the dream to manage Posh ever since, having followed the club's fortunes closely with his family. It sounds a little overblown but that doesn't matter. Evans has a way of making an impact on players and he has enough talent at his disposal to put an unconvincing Charlton side to the sword.

If Peterborough win, they will leapfrog the Addicks in the table and potentially break into the top six for the first time in 2018. That would constitute a dream start for Evans, who, in typically bullish fashion, has also promised players, fans and media that "if we make the play-offs, we will win them."

It's a far cry from the timid end to Grant McCann's tenure with six draws in his last eight matches, as fear enveloped the dressing room through cautious tactics. It stemmed from an apparent shift in the attitude of owner Darragh MacAnthony, who now wants results rather than getting his thrills from conducting shrewd activity in the transfer market.

It's been a cultural problem at London Road for too long but we should expect an unfamiliar edge to Peterborough now that Evans is at the helm. He is the ideal man to lead a charge for the Championship and you wouldn't bet against him achieving that aim, if not this season then next.

Charlton, meanwhile, have ownership issues of a different kind. And while supporters must be delighted by the prospect of an imminent takeover, finally ridding themselves of the cold incompetence of Roland Duchatalet, Karl Robinson sees only an excuse to cry frustration over the parameters under which he is currently operating.

The over-sensitive Liverpudlian waved goodbye to Ricky Holmes in January and was unable to complete the deals for players he wanted in return, while the current state of uncertainty is supposedly affecting the dressing room.

Josh Magennis is usually the main focal point for the Addicks but he's doubtful for this clash, having picked up a hamstring niggle on Tuesday, while Jake Forster-Caskey and Tariqe Fosu haven't trained at all this week.

That could mean a start for Polish winger Michal Zyro, on loan from Wolves, who is still considered rusty having played only 29 minutes since his arrival from Molineux seven weeks ago. It's a similar story with Sullay Kaikai. The Crystal Palace youngster has started the last three games but has yet to complete 90 minutes.

Posh have shown an appetite for big games on home soil, beating four of the top six at London Road. Against the same opposition, Charlton have fired blanks in six out of seven matches - home and away - picking up just four points from a possible 21.

In the reverse fixture at The Valley three months ago, Posh were dominant and should have been home and hosed, sitting on a 2-0 lead for most of there second half. But they conceded twice in stoppage time to share the spoils. Presented with anything like the same scenario, Evans would surely close the game out.

Recommended bet:
1pt Peterborough to beat Charlton at [2.38]


Mini-breather can serve Wanderers well

Wycombe v Cambridge
League Two, Saturday 15:00 GMT

After five-and-a-half years and 300 games in charge of Wycombe, Gareth Ainsworth knows exactly what it takes to be successful in League Two and he should be trusted to get the Chairboys back on track after they finished February with a couple of shock home defeats.

Prior to that, they had looked irresistible, having picked up 22 points from a possible 24 since the turn of the year. At that stage, they looked a shoo-in for automatic promotion and were probably guilty of getting a little too carried away by the situation themselves, but the postponement of last weekend's trip to Crawley might have been a blessing.

Not only has it given Ainsworth time to settle everyone down and come back at things in a fresh frame of mind, it has also provided the breathing space to get key players back to full fitness.

Michael Harriman, Sido Jombati, Anthony Stewart and Scott Kashket are close to returning after lengthy lay-offs, which should provide stiff competition places. Wanderers' rise into the automatic reckoning is even more remarkable for the fact they've done it without those players but a fully-fit squad for the run-in would make them a formidable proposition.

Cambridge have endured a predictably mediocre campaign, which led to the dismissal of Shaun Derry a month ago. Since then, former assistant Joe Dunne has stepped in to oversee three successive wins, the first two of which were gimmes against second-bottom Chesterfield and a dismal Grimsby side in crisis.

An eye-catching 1-0 victory over Notts County completed the set, although it wasn't quite the scalp it was made out to be in light of the Magpies' miserable shot data over the past two months. But low-scoring encounters with Accrington (0-1) and Luton (1-1) do at least imply that confidence has improved.

Nonetheless, this ought to be routine. Cambridge have mustered just one point from seven away matches against the top eight and Wanderers aren't the business of giving away cheap points too often. They've won nine out of 11 home matches against opposition from tenth down, 17 out of 23 when you include away trips.

Recommended bet:
1pt Wycombe to beat Cambridge at [2.10]

Mike Holden Profit/Loss 2017-18

Staked: 117 pts
Returned: 90.27 pts
P/L: -26.73 pts

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