Peterborough United manager wants ‘must-win’ game against Reading on Boxing Day to go ahead, but he also wants to avoid a ‘farcical’ situation in the Championship

Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson is keen for his team to play their Christmas fixtures at home to Reading on Boxing Day and at Birmingham City on December 29.

By Alan Swann
Tuesday, 21st December 2021, 11:31 am
Updated Tuesday, 21st December 2021, 11:43 am
Posh Covid sufferer Mark Beevers.

There is a chance both games could be called off because of positive Covid cases and Posh expect to find out about the Reading fixture today (December 21).

Reading called off their scheduled home game with Luton last Saturday because of a Covid outbreak. Their players and the Posh squad were due to be tested again today.

Posh had four positive Covid cases last week with Conor Coventry, Mark Beevers, Ben Mensah and Idris Kanu all missing the defeat at Blackpool. None of them would have started the game at Bloomfield Road.

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Ferguson is mindful of the threat of Covid and the danger of the Championship becoming ‘farcical’ if only a few games are played on each scheduled matchday.

Five Championship fixtures were postponed last weekend and already the Boxing Day games at Barnsley and Cardiff have been called off.

The EFL cancelled their planned managers’ conference call yesterday and instead issued a statement insisting clubs carry on playing as long as they satisfy the relevant protocols and rules.

“It’s a difficult situation for us all,” Ferguson said. “The EFL want us to carry on where possible which is understandable, but there is a danger the league could become farcical if only one or two games are going ahead each time.

“If we do break for a short period at least rearranging the games wouldn’t be a problem as there are no midweek fixtures in January at the moment, but would the situation be any different at the end of two weeks?

“We just need clarity and consistency to be fair to all clubs. Some are currently more affected than others. We haven’t been too bad, but the players are being tested this morning as are Reading’s so we should know more about the Boxing Day fixture today.

“It’s not just the fans and the clubs who are affected. We have catering staff, catering staff and others to consider.

“On balance I want us to play if we can. We need the points and if we win on Boxing Day we get out of the relegation zone which would be huge for us. I don’t like talking about must-win matches, but Reading is definitely one of those game we have to target.”