Peterborough United boss adamant his side have the firepower to trouble Middlesbrough even without Clarke-Harris

Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson is convinced his side have the firepower to trouble Middlesbrough in their Championship fixture at the Riverside on Saturday (October 16, 3pm), even in the absence of powerful centre-forward Jonson Clarke-Harris.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 11:48 am
Middlesbrough manager Neil Warnock. Photo: Christopher Lee/Getty Images.

Clarke-Harris sits out the second game of his four-match ban for abusive historical tweets meaning Siriki Dembele and Sammie Szmodics are likely to be paired up front again.

It means a downgrade in power and size, but a massive upgrade in terms of pace and quality on the ball. Szmodics scored both goals in a 3-2 home defeat at the hands of Bristol City in Posh’s last outing on October 2.

“Obviously we will miss what Jonno gives us,” Ferguson admitted. “He’s been a big part of what we’ve achieved in the last couple of seasons.

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Sammie Szmodics (kneeling) scores his second goal against Bristol City. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

“But Siriki brings different qualities, most notably his pace, and he did well playing further forward in the last game.

“Sammie’s a great lad and his attitude was spot on even when he was out of the side. Hopefully he will kick on now he’s scored a couple of goals, We’ve seen in the past he tends to go on scoring runs.”

Posh are taking on opponents who have endured an inconsistent start to the season. They beat promotion fancies Sheffield United and then lost to struggling Hull City in their last two outings. Blackpool won at the Riverside last month so Posh will attempt to complete a complete sweep of wins by newly-promoted clubs over Boro.

But Ferguson is expecting another tough game against a side manager by Championship promotion specialist Neil Warnock.

“They have a manager who knows the division inside out,” Ferguson added. “And like all Championship clubs they have good players, but I’ve been telling my players to just concentrate on their own strengths.

“We have the players who can cause them problems.”

If, as expected, Posh do field three centre-backs it’s likely Beevers and Frankie Kent would play either side of Nathan Thompson rather than teenager Ronnie Edwards with Dan Butler and Joe Ward as wing-backs.