Posh could still go up... but not until next season

Marcus Maddison is the most creative force in the Posh squad.
Marcus Maddison is the most creative force in the Posh squad.

Posh are entering the final third of their League One season. Lessons have been learnt and some mistakes have been rectified, but here are Alan Swann’s views on the season so far.

NO CHANCE OF PROMOTION

Posh won’t finish in the top six this season unless they find another Dwight Gayle or Britt Assombalonga before Saturday, top-class strikers who are capable of hitting the ground running.

The Posh top scorers in League One this season - Conor Washington and Marcus Maddison - have scored a mere seven goals apiece and one of those is an attacking midfielder.

In hindsight, and I don’t blame Posh for taking the money on offer for Assombalonga, this season’s promotion push was fatally undermined two days before the season started when the best player was sold.

PLAN FOR NEXT SEASON

Manager Darren Ferguson and chairman Darragh MacAnthony should spend the rest of this season preparing for the 2015-16 campaign, once the spectre of relegation has been banished of course.

Posh have the nucleus of a squad capable of challenging for promotion next season, especially as League One won’t look half as strong if big clubs Bristol City, Preston and Sheffield United all win promotion this time around..

The reliance of Swindon and MK Dons on loan players means they can’t guarantee another promotion push next season and the teams likely to come down from the Championship look distinctly average so if Luke James adds goals to his great attitude and Posh find a prolific strike partner for him, a much stronger promotion push can be expected.

It will also be a help that Posh no longer have anyone so good that he’s likely to be sold in the summer.

BUILD AROUND MADDISON

I find some of the stuff I read on social media about Maddison baffling.

He is by far and away the most creative force in the current squad and if he’s anywhere near full fitness he has to play.

Posh have been desperate for goals at times this season and who would you back to create or score with the most confidence, Maddison or Erhun Oztumer, or Jon Taylor?

It’s a no-brainer in my opinion.

MAKE LOANS PAY

Let’s be brutally honest the signings of Craig Mackail-Smith and Aaron Mclean have been huge disappointments.

The theory behind it was sound but Mclean in particular is nowhere near the force of old. The man is a Posh legend and that legacy shouldn’t be tainted any further.

I would ban loan signings altogether as they disguise ineffectual coaching and poor summer recruitment, but if Posh go down that route they have to do better.

A club with such a great reputation for talent-spotting has an awful recent record with temporary transfers. It was obvious very early in this season that Kenny McEvoy was not up to scratch.

Have Posh had a good loan signing since George Thorne? I’m struggling to think of one.

GET OVER GRANT McCANN

The Northern Ireland midfielder was a top-class performer responsible for many great Posh moments, but his brief appearances this season hinted at a play-maker past his best.

He wouldn’t have made a difference on the field this season. It was right to let him go if the desire to make him the next Posh manager had lessened.

DIG THE PITCH UP

So much has been good about Posh behind the scenes this season.

The Motorpoint Stand is impressive, finding a stadium sponsor was a significant financial boost, the spoof of the John Lewis Christmas ad was inspired and the customer service at The ABAX stadium (tickets and general queries) is generally outstanding.

Only the playing surface is an embarrassment. It needs to be sorted to give League One players a better chance to entertain.

GOOD THINGS from 2014/15

Darragh MacAnthony’s Twitter banter

Joe Newell’s re-emergence.

Experienced referees.

Signing Marcus Maddison.

Selling Tyrone Barnett.

Getting £5.5 million for Britt Assombalonga.

BAD THINGS from 2014/15

Darragh MacAnthony’s Twitter meltdowns

Darren Ferguson’s stubbornness.

The midfield diamond.

The number of long-term injuries, particularly Jon Taylor.

Selling Britt Assombalonga.

Nottingham Forest’s late payments.