|Return of the Posh Messiah? - Peterborough Away Preview|
Written by portmantales on Wednesday, 14th Aug 2019 12:52
Classic standing terraces, a reckless Lee Martin and of course Darren Ferguson. These are the things that first come to mind when I think of Peterborough.
Fortunately, Martin is a distant memory, but Ferguson is back again and as for the terraces, well you may find a blue seat behind your legs this time around.
Ipswich fans will also witness a significant moment in Peterborough’s modern history on Saturday as the club will officially re-purchase their stadium – with a presentation on the pitch planned prior to kick-off. It is yet to transpire whether this will stop any plans to still move away from London Road to a purpose-built venue.
Last season Steve Evans started the 2018/19 season at the helm and guided the club to five wins in their first five games, an even more extraordinary start considering the squad had been bolstered by 14 permanent signings and suffered 18 departures.
However, the wins soon dried up and the play-off campaign was slowly derailed. Evans left the club with the team hanging onto sixth and was replaced by Ferguson. A familiar face for Posh fans with this being his third stint in charge.
The results did not improve sufficiently to secure the top six finish and the club finished in seventh.
With a co-owner who tweets as often as a player is signed, expectations were raised within fan groups due to promises of further reinforcements in the summer.
Due to the sheer turnover of players at Peterborough over the past two seasons it is not surprising that success has not been forthcoming, however, once the squad settles it should be well placed to challenge for promotion.
Season so far 2019/20 has not started well for Posh, who were one of the pre-season favourites to secure a top-six place.
A surprise 3-1 defeat at home to Fleetwood followed by a 1-0 away loss to Oxford United sees Peterborough without any points heading into Saturday’s encounter.
This losing streak has been compounded by another 1-0 loss to Oxford in Tuesday night’s League Cup match. Peterborough played a full-strength side, so confidence will again have suffered.
On paper the club invested well in the summer with several new signings including Mark Beevers joining from Bolton and club record signing Mo Eisa commanding a £1.6 million fee.
Eisa flattered to deceive at Bristol City, however, does have excellent pedigree after a free-scoring season for Cheltenham. At present, Eisa has been open to criticism from fans due to his lack of work ethic in games however when on form can be a danger for any defence at this level.
System So far Peterborough have lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, one which Town could look to replicate at the weekend. Former Exeter goalkeeper Christy Pym joined in the summer and has taken the starting spot. Pym, who Town spoke to before signing Tomas Holy, is a solid shot-stopper and is considered an excellent prospect for the future.
The defence has undertaken a mass overhaul with Dan Butler, Mark Beevers, Ryan Kent and Niall Mason joining from Newport, Bolton, Colchester and Doncaster respectively and all forming the backline in league fixtures so far. Mason was a controversial signing due to his sacking from Doncaster.
The midfield is considered Peterborough’s main strength but has failed to gel thus far. Former Premier League campaigner George Boyd has returned to Posh, but despite having the footballing nous to be successful, it is open to debate whether he has the energy levels to carry out the centre midfield role effectively.
He is partnered by former Lincoln maestro Alex Woodyard who looks to break-up play and feed the more creative elements of the team.
The three in front are Marcus Maddison, Siriki Dembele and Eisa. Eisa has struggled in this position due to his need to play off the shoulder of the last defender being denied, whereas Marcus Maddison is a set-piece specialist who has constantly been linked with Championship level moves away from the club.
Ivan Toney plays the lone striker role and has yet to find consistent goalscoring form this campaign. Last season he registered a significant contribution of 16 goals which led to a £4 million bid from Charlton being rejected just prior to the start of the season.
One to Watch Marcus Maddison. For several seasons Maddison has been the leading light of his Peterborough team. Their main creative influence, Maddison is a permanent source of assists and shutting him down will be a key factor in nullifying any offensive power.
Discipline in not giving away freekicks around the area will be crucial in the Ipswich game plan, as Maddison has the traditional ‘wand’ of a left foot.
At 25-years-old he has plenty of time in his career to progress through the leagues and if he can replicate his form of eight goals and 16 assists from last season then the move to the Championship will come sooner rather than later.
Travel Tips The Weston Homes Stadium is around a 20-minute walk from Peterborough train station, whilst the locality of the ground is useful – I would advise catching as early a train as possible to the game as Greater Anglia do not provide many carriages on the service and they will become akin to warm sardine cans the closer to kick off you leave your travel.
I would also advise having a drink after the game instead of rushing back to the station, to avoid similar issues.
For the drivers, Oundle Road has a fair few side streets to legally park down with no fear of receiving a ticket (please do check for restrictions first though in case this has changed). The road is about a 15-minute walk from the ground and also contains the Palmerston Arms, an away friendly pub that serves an array of real ales.
Prediction I think our unbeaten run will continue and whilst Peterborough may prove a stronger unit than their previous results suggest, I still believe our midfield will dominate the game. 1-0 to Ipswich, Flynn Downes to notch his first of the season before a typically nervous finish.
Time to finally exorcise the ghost of August 2011, when Ipswich fell to the most abysmal defeat of my Town-supporting life.
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