By Tony Leighton
Peterborough United's clean sheet specialist Bobby Olejnik will be aiming for an amazing seventh shut-out in nine Sky Bet League 1 outings when Posh entertain leaders Leyton Orient in Saturday's big top of the table clash at London Road.
Victory would take Darren Ferguson's side level on points with the O's and, if the visitors fail to find the net, would also push goalkeeper Olejnik's League and Cup clean sheet count into double figures for the season so far.
The Austrian keeper told football-league.co.uk: "As a goalkeeper you're judged on clean sheets, so it's great to have had so many already this season. But credit has to go to the whole team for the way we've been defending.
"Peterborough are known as a team who score lots of goals, but we also work hard on our defending - and that's not just the back four. We can defend from the front when we have to and everybody plays a part in keeping those clean sheets."
Olejnik is spot-on about Posh's goalscoring reputation, though in the past they have also been known to concede a lot. In their 2010/ll League 1 promotion campaign, for example, their goal aggregate was an incredible 106-75.
And even when they were relegated from the Championship last season, which was Olejnik's first with the club, they scored more goals than automatically promoted Hull City - though their aggregate this time was 66-75.
Former Falkirk and Torquay United keeper Olejnik, who began his career in the UK at Aston Villa though never made the first team, understandably kept only nine clean sheets in 49 League and Cup games as Posh finished third-bottom.
But after 20 shut-outs in 2011/12 with Torquay, his only season with the League 2 club after spending four years at Scottish outfit Falkirk, the 26-year-old keeper is proving as mean as ever in the current campaign.
He is at the top of his game after bouncing back from the disappointment of being released by Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill and then leaving Falkirk after they had been relegated from the Scottish Premier League.
"It was obviously a set-back when Villa released me," said the former Austria Under-21 keeper, " but I loved it there and learned so much. I also had a great time at Falkirk, but club finances rather than my performances led to me leaving.
"I wanted to come back into the Football League at that point so I was pleased to sign for (ex-Torquay manager) Martin Ling, who said he'd watched me play for Aston Villa reserves a few times, and that move worked really well for me.
"When I first came to Peterborough I maybe lacked the experience for the Championship. But the team and me improved in the second half of the season, and despite the disappointment of relegation we've carried on the momentum."
Posh's momentum was broken with an unexpected defeat - only their second in League 1 this season - at Colchester United last week. But bouncing back with a win against Orient would put their promotion drive right back on track.
Olejnik said: "It hurt to lose at Colchester, but a home game against the top of the table team is the perfect incentive to bounce back. Orient are flying, but if we're at our best we can take the three points - hopefully with another clean sheet."
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