Football

Mackail-Smith sets Posh sights on Old Trafford

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Craig Mackail-Smith is plotting the downfall of MK Dons in what could potentially be his farewell match at London Road for Peterborough United.

The prolific forward has scored 33 goals in all competitions this season, earning the coveted League One player of the year award at the end of the campaign and a Scotland call-up in the process.

It's also led to much speculation about his future, but the former Dagenham striker was quick to stress to Givemefootball that nothing is certain in football and his sole focus is on firing Posh to a play-off final date with Huddersfield Town.

"I don't know what the future holds at the moment, but want to score the goals that take us to Old Trafford. The fact that it could be my last home game is definitely an incentive, and I want to drive the team forward to victory," said Mackail-Smith.

"We've just got to go out and enjoy every minute of the game because we're 90 minutes away from what would potentially be a massive final."

Mackail-Smith gave free-scoring Posh an early lead at Stadium:MK in the first leg on Sunday, but ten minutes of madness in the second-half saw the Dons score three times and the tie swing in their favour.

A controversial penalty ten minutes from time has given Peterborough a lifeline, and at 3-2 the match is now finely poised ahead of tonight's second leg.

Darren Ferguson admitted that things could have been much worse for his side post match, and Mackail-Smith had to agree with his manager. The hitman is keen for his teammates to capitalise on their good fortune, and insists the camp is relaxed ahead of the pressure cooker clash.

"We have to take positives from the first leg, because two defensive injuries gave us problems and they took advantage with three quick goals. It was backs against the walls when Charlie (Lee) went off and we were down to ten men," he continued.

"Two goals behind would have been a bit of a mountain to climb, but we got that big bit of luck when we needed it at the time and we're well in it. We know we can make that goal up in the first minute, so there is no panic."

"The manager has been keeping things fun and relaxed. Nothing is different from before, and we just need to go out and play our game which we think can be enough."


 

One of the few positives from last season's Championship relegation campaign, Mackail-Smith broke double figures in the second tier and believes he's developed as a player since that time.

An emphasis on relieving his own high weight of expectations, along with continuous hard work on the training ground have made the 27-year-old one of the hottest properties in the Football League, and the desire to continue improving could take the former St Albans striker to the very top.

"I learnt a lot during the Championship season and found some things I needed to improve on. I have tried to do that, and think I'm a better player because of it now," said the striker.

"I worked hard through the summer and have been enjoying my football. It was important to take some of the pressure off my own shoulders, and that has worked really well for me.

"That said, I think I need to improve my hold-up play and finishing further. I've come on leaps and bounds in those departments, but think there is more for me to improve on to take it to the next level."

First things first for Mackail-Smith though, and a trip to Manchester could be the perfect send-off after four fantastic years in Cambridgeshire.
"Everyone wants to be walking out at Old Trafford on May 29th - we're ready."

Topics:
Peterborough United
Football
League One
Craig Mackail-Smith
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