Belfast Telegraph

Grant McCann vows Peterborough United will be handful for hot Chelsea

By Graham Luney

Grant McCann is confident his Peterborough United boys will not freeze when they face Premier League pacesetters Chelsea in the third round of the FA Cup.

The former Northern Ireland midfielder will pit his wits against Blues boss Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge on January 8 and he will have the backing of around 7,000 dreaming Posh fans.

It's a real glamour tie for the Belfast man who masterminded a 2-0 replay victory over Notts County at the ABAX Stadium on Tuesday night.

League One Peterborough sit 53 places below Chelsea in the English football pyramid and whatever side Conte sends out will present a daunting challenge but former West Ham ace McCann is rightly licking his lips at the early Christmas present.

McCann, speaking after the win over County, said: "Chelsea is the eighth of January and we have three games to come before then. Gloves (assistant manager Lee Glover) just said in there the only people guaranteed to go to Chelsea are him and the coach driver.

"The boys need to make sure they keep their performances up.

"One thing I do know is we're not going to go there and lie down, we'll go there and play our normal game against them and we'll give it a good go.

"They are the best team in the country at the minute.

"No one is getting anywhere near them so we're going to probably need 7,000 Peterborough fans on the pitch to get a result never mind in the stand.

"One of the pleasing aspects was the reaction of the players after the game. They were calm.

"No-one was bouncing off the walls or getting too excited. There was satisfaction at a job well done, but everyone in our dressing room knows how important the league is to this club," he said.

"We want to go to Chelsea in as good a league position as we possibly can.

"Our priority for now is getting some recovery work into the players before a very tough game on Boxing Day (against Gillingham).

"We delivered a solid performance against County. It was a tough game because everyone expected us to win, but we coped with those expectations well."

Before the Cup tie, McCann, who won 39 international caps, struck a positive note, saying: "We are confident. We've done well in the big matches this season.

"We've been very good against Bury and Bolton live on television and we've won both derby games against Northampton.

"I have big game players in my dressing room and they are all in great form.

"We are winning games and we want to carry on winning."

Posh struck twice in the first eight minutes to beat County, with Gwion Edwards and Paul Taylor on target, although they were thankful to goalkeeper Luke McGee for saving Jon Stead's first-half penalty after he was adjudged to have fouled the striker. Edwards is in blistering form and his header was his fourth goal in four games.

The visitors had lost their last six League Two matches but McCann's side, who are sixth in League One, still needed to do a professional job to earn a crack at Chelsea.

• Plymouth Argyle secured an FA Cup third round tie at Liverpool as Graham Carey's extra-time penalty defeated Newport County in a replay.

After a goalless 90 minutes Plymouth were awarded a penalty in the first half of extra time only for Paul Garita to hit the post. But Carey made no mistake with Argyle's second spot kick after Darren Jones' rash challenge on David Goodwillie.

Argyle will be away to Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool on Sunday, January 8.

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