No news was good news for Peterborough United, but the playing squad looks thin in parts
No news was good news for Peterborough United on transfer deadline day (September 2).
Well, very little news anyway. The departure of midfielders Mark O’Hara and Jason Naismith won’t be mourned even if the honest toilers gave their all whenever called up upon. Isaac Buckley-Ricketts also left, but few Posh fans would even recognise him in the street such was his lack of first-team action.
No, today was all about Marcus Maddison. In the cold light of day he was never going to leave - a nicely-priced release fee saw to that - but football fans can be a naturally pessimistic bunch. The relief that Sunderland’s stinginess, or maybe their myopia, made them blind to the fact that £2.5 million for Maddison would probably have guaranteed them promotion was very welcome news at the Weston Homes Stadium.
Make no mistake, losing Maddison would have ensured Posh didn’t go up. They probably wouldn’t have even made the play-offs barring a miracle signing or two in January. The main man is that vital to this club and to the way manager Darren Ferguson wants to play.
We can now look forward to a thrilling six months or so. Barring unforeseeable injuries Posh will not be kept out of the top six now. Mo Eisa and Ivan Toney can expect to score 20 goals apiece now the assist king is staying put.
Injuries and suspensions must be avoided though. Posh’s failure to land a long-term midfield target could become a problem, although Ferguson is surely sensible in not signing someone else just to make the numbers up.
Defensively Posh look strong. Nathan Thompson’s arrival means there are two decent right-backs and Frazer Blake-Tracy’s emergence from King’s Lynn Town gives two left-backs capable of helping a side to promotion.
Rhys Bennett is adequate cover for first-choice central defensive pair Mark Beevers and Frankie Kent, but further forward the squad looks thin.
If the midfield diamond is the way forward the absence of Louis Reed at the base or Marcus Maddison at the top would be a problem. Young Kyle Barker or converted centre-back Josh Knight would cover Reed, while Serhat Tasdemir or Siriki Dembele are Maddison’s back-up. It’s no slight on the latter pair to suggest that would be like replacing a Ferrari with a Ford.
Dembele appears to be cover for front two Ivan Toney and Mo Eisa as well. He did run Accrington ragged as a frontman last season, but his pace is clearly more helpful out wide rather than down the middle.
Of course Posh have failed to rid themselves of transfer-listed players Alex Woodyard, Conor O’Malley and Aaron Chapman who could come into a selection equation, if they don’t soon depart on loan. Woodyard could be used in an emergency, but Ferguson clearly wants better.
Ferguson said after Saturday’s impressive win over Sunderland he had 20 fit players to see him through to the next transfer window in January. Time will tell if that’s enough.
Goalkeepers: Christy Pym.
Full-backs: Niall Mason, Nathan Thompson, Frazer Blake-Tracy, Dan Butler.
Centre-backs: Mark Beevers, Rhys Bennett, Frankie Kent.
Midfielders: George Boyd, Harrison Burrows, Josh Knight, Louis Reed, Serhat Tasdemir, Marcus Maddison, Joe Ward, Siriki Dembele, Kyle Barker.
Forwards: Ivan Toney. Mo Eisa, Idris Kanu.
Back-ups: Conor O’Malley, Aaron Chapman, Alex Woodyard.