Peterborough United boss insists his human 'sponges' are ready for a tough League One test

Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson is backing his human ‘sponges’ to have real go at promotion fancies Barnsley at Oakwell on Tuesday night (7.45pm kick off).
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The title-winning odds for both clubs has shortened since the start of the season.

Posh are one of five teams to have won both of their opening two matches and are now 8/1 fourth favourites with SkyBet to finish top.

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Barnsley started their season with a 7-0 rout of Port Vale at Oakwell before a 1-1 draw at Bristol Rovers on Saturday. They are 7/1 third favourites with the same firm to finish first.

Posh manager Darren Ferguson. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.comPosh manager Darren Ferguson. Photo: Joe Dent/
Posh manager Darren Ferguson. Photo: Joe Dent/

Ferguson is unconcerned by those numbers, but he knows his team face their toughest test of the fledgling season.

He also knows his players are up for the fight.

"My players are like sponges,” Ferguson said. “They are forever asking questions and they absorb everything. We are still a work in progress though.

"I love working with decent people and this group are. They are a delight to work with. They won’t always be perfect because it’s a young squad, but they will always have a go.

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"Starting the season well is important for a new team and a young team as it gives belief as well as momentum.

"Of course there are improvements to come, but part of my job is to get the players to relax and focus on performances and let me worry about the results.

"Results are the most important thing, but developing players into assets is also important and I love that part of the job.

"And there's no doubt we are facing one of the teams that will challenge for promotion. Barnsley are aggressive with good quality throughout the team and a manager who did really well in the United States.

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"They are playing in a similar way to last season with a back three and there’s no reason to believe they won’t have another good season.”

Barnsley lost in the League One play-off final to Sheffield Wednesday last season and have since lost manager Michael Duff to Championship side Swansea.

Neill Collins is the new man in charge. He used to manage Tampa Bay Rowdies in the States and when a player he was part of a Preston North End squad managed by Ferguson.

Key midfielder Adam Phillips is available for Barnsley after serving a three-match suspension for a red card in the League One play-off final.

Posh are hopeful captain Ephron Mason-Clark will be fit enough to start at Oakwell. He’s missed the last two Posh matches with a hamstring issue.