PETERBOROUGH UNITED COMMENT: Why Ricky-Jade Jones shouldn’t start on Saturday and other things we learnt from a hard-fought FA Cup win over Stevenage

Peterborough United should exercise caution with exciting young talent Ricky-Jade Jones.

Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 11:30 am
Posh players celebrate Ricky-Jade Jones' late goal v Stevenage. Photo: David Lowndes.

The 17 year-old has burst onto the London Road scene in dramatic fashion. His natural speed is thrilling and he can obviously finish. Purely on the evidence of last night’s (November 19) hard-earned FA Cup win he deserves to replace 12-goal suspended striker Ivan Toney against Burton Albion in Saturday’s (November 23) League One fixture at the Weston Homes Stadium.

As his most obvious rivals for a start, Siriki Dembele and Idris Kanu, did not even appear in the 2-0 win over Stevenage (Kanu wasn’t even in the matchday squad), Jones is clearly the frontrunner and manager Darren Ferguson didn’t exactly play his chances down after the game so unless the boss is performing an elaborate bluff, his newest professional can be expected to line up alongside top scorer Mo Eisa against the Brewers.

I wouldn’t play him though. There’s a world of difference between coming off the bench against the team bottom of League Two when a game is stretched to starting against a high quality League One team, which Burton are despite their current 15th-place position.

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Came on for the final 25 minutes for Burrows and made some poor decisions, overhit crosses and hit the post when he should have scored. Gave the midfield some energy though.

There’s also a world of difference between playing alongside Ivan Toney to playing alongside Eisa. Toney’s physical presence and ability to bring others into the game would make life easier for a rookie than Eisa’s more individual game.

My own preference would still be to ditch the diamond and play Eisa up top on his own with Dembele, Marcus Maddison and Joe Ward behind him, although Ferguson (understandably given the results) seems wedded to his current system which requires two forwards and Ward did himself few favours with his performance as a substitute last night.

For me Jones is best used as an impact sub for now. Dembele deserves a chance to show what he can do with his unpredictable talents.

Other things we learnt last night...

1) If Posh pass the ball as slowly and as inaccurately as they did last night, Burton will wreak havoc. Without Toney’s hold-up play, Posh will need to be very precise in possession to get the most out of Marcus Maddison and Eisa on Saturday.

Niall Mason was a disappointment at the base of the midfield diamond so Louis Reed will presumably return, while Alex Woodyard, for all his impressive industry, is a fish out of water when asked to play a role which requires some creativity which should lead to the return of Josh Knight.

Reed and Knight have not been in the best of form lately. The need for midfield players in the January transfer window is obvious.

2) Posh kept a clean sheet against Stevenage, but goalkeeper Christy Pym was the main reason for that with two smart saves in the second-half to thwart Elliott List. Stevenage’s lack of quality going forward also helped. They’ve won two games all season and it was obvious why.

Posh are worryingly slow in the middle of a defence that is too easy to get at given how easily possession is squandered. Right-back Nathan Thompson is also getting exposed too easily. He plays like a man used to getting defensive help from a right-sided midfielder.