Ferguson expects Posh players to come out firing on all cylinders after blank weekend

Boss Darren Ferguson believes his players will have benefited from a rare weekend away from the rigours and intensity of the Sky Bet League One promotion race.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 12:35 pm
Updated Monday, 15th March 2021, 12:36 pm
Posh boss Darren Ferguson

Posh were without a game on Saturday meaning they will have had a clear week between last Tuesday's 3-1 defeat to Hull City and Tuesday night's Weston Homes Stadium date with managerless Portsmouth (ko 7pm).

The time without a fixture allowed the players to get some much-needed rest into their bodies that have been pushed to the limit by a fixture schedule since the turn of the year.

"Since our last game we have got a couple of days' rest into the boys, we have had a couple of days' training and we will now prepare for the game tomorrow night," said Ferguson in his Monday morning media conference.

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"Mentally and physically I think it was a good time to freshen things up and we know that we can really have a go at this game on Tuesday night now."

Posh go into the clash with Portsmouth still sitting in second place in league one, thanks third-placed Lincoln City fluffing their lines at the weekend and losing 2-1 at home to lowly Rochdale.

Leaders Hull were winners though, following their 3-1 win over Posh last week with a 2-0 win over Oxford United on Saturday.

That took the Tigers six points clear of Posh, but Ferguson's men do have three games in hand and can immediately make inroads on Tuesday night as Hull are without a fixture.

The defeat to Hull last Tuesday was a disappointing one for Ferguson, especially as it followed a draw with Oxford and defeat at Burton Albion, but the Posh boss made sure he focused on what he said were the many positives to come from the performance in that defeat, which largely came about due to Ethan Hamilton's first-half sending-off.

"The only things we showed the players from the Hull game was the positive stuff, because there was so much of it," said Ferguson.

"I thought our first half performance was very good, I thought we dominated pretty much 90 per cent of the game in the first half.

"Losing a soft goal obviously didn't help, but we were the team that was pushing.

"Their goalkeeper made three very good saves, so I was delighted with the performance against a team that is at the top of the league.

"It wasn't like it was a team we were expected to roll over, and our shape caused them all sorts of problems, and I think that's an advantage we have.

"With the personnel we have got, the way we work, opposition teams don't know whether it's going to be a back three or a back four, and that does help us.

"Against Hull we could have been 3-0 up inside the first 15 minutes, and it was a really dominant, positive performance.

"I said to the players on Saturday that our performance levels were very good.

"The game didn't end up the way we wanted it to because we lost sloppy goals, and we have to cut that out, but the red card is the big turning point."

Hamilton is suspended for the Tuesday clash with Pompey, while Jack Taylor, Ronnie Edwards and Flynn Clarke are missing through injury.

Portsmouth were in action on Saturday as they played out the delayed 2020 EFL Trophy Final against League Two side Salford City.

The match ended 0-0 after extra-time, with Pompey losing the shootout 4-2, and that coupled with the team's disappointing league form led to the Sunday sacking of manager Kenny Jackett.

Jackett's assistant, Joe Gallen, will take charge of the team at Peterborough.