Peterborough United’s players must accept and deal with the expectations of promotion

Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson has told his players they must accept and deal with the expectations of promotion from League One.
Rival managers Joey Barton (left) and Darren Ferguson ahead of Fleetwood v Posh last season.Rival managers Joey Barton (left) and Darren Ferguson ahead of Fleetwood v Posh last season.
Rival managers Joey Barton (left) and Darren Ferguson ahead of Fleetwood v Posh last season.

Ferguson was frustrated by a poor display and a 2-0 defeat at Accrington Stanley in Posh’s League One opener last weekend. He’s expecting a much improved performance when Posh host Fleetwood Town at the Weston Homes Stadium this Saturday (September 19) in what he believes will be an early season promotion battle.

“Expectations have always been high at this club,” Ferguson admitted. “It’s been the same in every season I have been here. The owners expect promotion and so do the fans. That brings pressure, but we just have to deal with it.

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“That’s what being at this club brings and I’ve told the players they can’t let it affect them. We didn’t play well last weekend, but I’m confident we will be much better against Fleetwood.”

Ricky-Jade Jones is back in the matchday squad for Posh against Fleetwood.Ricky-Jade Jones is back in the matchday squad for Posh against Fleetwood.
Ricky-Jade Jones is back in the matchday squad for Posh against Fleetwood.

Fleetwood beat Posh twice in League One last season on the way to a sixth-place finish before losing badly to Wycombe Wanderers in the play-off semi-final.

Manager Joey Barton has lost a few players from that successful squad namely defenders Lewie Coyle and Harry Souttar, but Ferguson still believes they have one of the best line-ups in the third tier.

“They have lost four or five players, but they have recruited well while keeping hold of some good players,” Ferguson added.

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“They have picked up midfielder Callum Camps who I like a lot and they still have dangerous attackers like Paddy Madden and Wes Burns.

“I have no doubt they will be challenging for promotion again so we must see it as a perfect chance to lay down a marker. They beat us twice last season, including in our first home game of the season, so we know how tough they will be.

“In both games they got in front early and they were then very tough to break down because Joey has them so well organised.

“We suffered a bad start to the season again last Saturday when our peformance at Accrington was similar to the one we delivered against Fleetwood at home last season. But if we win on Saturday we will be three points better off than at the same stage last season.

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“That’s the positive way of looking at things after a first poor game.

“We made up ground on the top sides quickly last season after losing the opening two league matches so it’s silly to get too downbeat after one bad result. What we must be wary of though is having two games in a row now against teams who will be right up there, hopefully with us, at the end of the season.”

Posh welcome teenage striker Ricky-Jade Jones back to the squad following his recovery from an ankle injury, but left-sided defender Frazer Blake-Tracy won’t return from injury until the trip to Sunderland on September 26.

Coronavirus victims Siriki Dembele and Reece Brown are expected back in the matchday squad.

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Ferguson wasn’t happy with the form of his wingbacks Joe Ward and Dan Butler at Accrington claiming they only put three crosses into the penalty area between them.

This could lead to an opening for summer signing Ryan Broom who impressed on many occasions in a right wing-back role for Cheltenham Town last season.

Ferguson added: “We have to find a way of playing with the urgency we showed in the second half last week from the start on Saturday. We have to be braver on the ball and pass through teams.”

* Posh season ticket holders can watch Saturday’s game free of charge on iFollow. Instructions and a code have been despatched in the mail by the club.