'He was a fantastic servant'- Peterborough United boss Darren Ferguson pays tribute to Joe Ward ahead of Derby County clash
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Unfortunately for Ward, he will not be able to take to the pitch on the return to the Weston Homes Stadium due to a foot injury that looks set to rule him out for up to two months.
The 28-year-old called time on a six-season Posh career in the summer despite attempts by the club to get him to sign a new contract.
In that time, Ward won one promotion with the club and appeared 233 times (scoring 25 times), many of which under Ferguson; although it was Grant McCann who brought him to the club from Woking in January 2018.
Ward’s Posh career ended in unfortunate circumstances as he was withdrawn at half-time in the play-off 5-1 semi final second leg defeat at Hillsborough, having given away a penalty after nine minutes.
Ferguson only had positive things to say about Ward though.
When asked if he was disappointed not to be facing Ward on Saturday, he joked: “It depends on what Joe Ward turns up. He’s a very good player but he could drive you mad at times.”
He added: (On the disappointment), It’s the same for Joe because it was a big move for him. We tried our best to keep him but Derby came knocking and with the way Paul plays- he wants crosses into the box- and there’s no one better than Joe.
“Unfortunately, he’s picked up a injury. It’s disappointing, it would have been good to see him.
“I’m not sure whether he’s coming to the game- I think he’s trying to get some info off our lads about the team!
“He was a fantastic servant for many years. He was bought when I wasn’t here and then I worked with him for a while.
“He’s a real talented boy, fit as a fiddle, he can run all day and play right back, right wing back, right wing so gives you a real flexibility.
“Strikers playing with him knew he’d just take a touch and the ball would come into the box, they didn’t have to make two or three different runs. He made a hell of a lot of goals for those he played with.
“He was a fantastic crosser of the ball.
“I really enjoyed working with Joe, he was a really good player for the club.
“He was real low maintenance- which you want as a manager- he never gave me any moments of trouble and he was a top lad.”
Paul Warne’s side are also set to be without defender Kane Wilson and midfielder Max Bird when they arrive at Posh on Saturday.
Warne did, however, suggest in his pre-match press conference on Thursday morning that the club were looking to secure two signings before the end of the day.