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Mendez-Laing paying the price for summer fitness issues

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing returned for Posh pre-season training out of shape.

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing returned for Posh pre-season training out of shape.

 

Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson today (August 8) confirmed that winger Nathaniel Mendez-Laing is currently out of first-team favour because he didn’t return for pre-season training fit enough.

The former Wolves winger, who finished last season in the first-team (he scored an outstanding goal in the final game of the season at Crystal Palace), has not even made the substitutes’ bench in the first two competitive matches of this season.

Mendez-Laing didn’t feature in the club’s games during their summer tour of Ireland, but played well in a reserve team match yesterday (August 7). Posh beat a team from the Strachan Foundation 4-0.

Ferguson said: “Mendez didn’t come back to the club anywhere near fit enough. Gone are the days when you can come back overweight and use pre-season to catch up.

“Nat’s a good player with the potential to be very good, but he knows what we expect and it’s up to him to force his way back into the side.

“We will play a reserve team match in each of the next few weeks and to be fair the attitude of the whole team in the game this week was very good.

“Obviously it featured many players who haven’t been selected for the first-team just yet, but they realise there is no point in sulking so they got their heads down and got on with it.

“Jaanai Gordon scored a hat-trick and I think the penny is dropping with him. I’ve had a long chat with him and his work ethic has certainly improved which is great for him and us as he certainly knows where the goal is.”

Ferguson confirmed he is still trying to sign a striker before the transfer window closes on August 31, but that no-one will arrive before Saturday’s (August 10) League One trip to Notts County.

Ferguson also played down the prospect of star man Lee Tomlin leaving London Road before the end of the month,

“There will always be interest in Lee,” Ferguson admitted. “But that doesn’t concern me. He is a big talent, although he only played well for the final 30 minutes of the win at Colchester (August 6).

“I am still searching for a striker, but these things take time. We spent a lot of time chasing Britt Assombalonga before we got him.

“We are still keen to off-load a few players as well, but as far as I know no-one is close to leaving.

“I’m only going to loan out players to clubs that play good football and they need to be sure of playing in the first-team or there is no point.”

 

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