Cherries: Skip ready to take on division's top striker
IF tonight's game follows Cherries' desired script, Jason Pearce and Shaun Cooper will finish it sharing more than just a profession and playing position with Brazil star Lucio. The world-renowned defender spent part of his Sunday afternoon fulfilling the task facing the Cherries duo this evening keeping a lid on Craig Mackail-Smith. Whether or not Pearce and Cooper follow in Lucio's illustrious footsteps could go a long way to deciding Cherries' fate at London Road. The Peterborough star, named League One player of the year, made his Scotland debut at the Emirates Stadium against Lucio and co. The Inter Milan man secured a shut-out against the 27-year-old striker and his colleagues, and Cherries' centre-half pairing are bidding to repeat the feat against Posh. That will be made more difficult as Mackail-Smith, valued by Peterborough at £3million following interest from Norwich City last month, will be on the pitch for longer than the brief substitute appearance he made against Brazil. And his record in the third tier this term makes impressive reading, with 22 goals from 37 starts. But Pearce, an outstanding performer himself this season and an ever present for Cherries, is looking forward to locking horns. It will be a different challenge for him from Lucio to Pearce and Cooper, joked the Cherries skipper. But it is one I'm looking forward to. Hopefully, we can give a good performance. I have watched him quite a few times and played against him when he was at Dagenham and I was at Woking. He is a good player and Coops and I have got to make sure we are on our game. Hopefully, we can keep him quiet. Pearce continued: Hopefully, it should be a good battle. I saw he got called up for Scotland and he is a great player at this level. I'm sure he will go on to play in the Championship. I relished playing against Bradley Wright-Phillips and Frank Nouble last weekend and again this week against Craig Mackail-Smith. Leading marksman Mackail-Smith is one of the reasons Peterborough have racked up 88 goals already this term, although they have leaked 64 at the other end. Cooper acknowledges the Posh strengths but insists Cherries will be concentrating on their own game, with plenty of firepower within the Dean Court squad. He said: Every team come with dangermen and we have just got to deal with them the same as all the others we have come up against this season. We have got a lot of players other teams will have to worry about. We will be focusing on ourselves. While we are aware of their threats, we are more than aware of what we are capable of. The League One promotion showdown will be screened live on Sky Sports 2 but Pearce is unfazed by the television cameras. He added: It is nice to be on TV and have people watching you, but that doesn't matter. We know what we have got to do. It is going to be a massive game for us and a really tough game. But we know what we have got to expect and have got to live up to that and give a good performance.
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