Peterborough United’s players need to become flexible friends again and experienced defender’s plan for victory at Stoke City

Peterborough United boss Darren Ferguson wants his players to become flexible friends again.

By Alan Swann
Thursday, 18th November 2021, 12:49 pm
Posh defender Nathan Thompson in action against QPR last month. Photo: Joe Dent/
Posh defender Nathan Thompson in action against QPR last month. Photo: Joe Dent/

Posh are expected to start Saturday’s (November 20) match at fifth-placed Stoke City with a similar formation to the one that caused promotion favourites Fulham so many problems in the last round of Championship fixtures.

But Ferguson insists he will change shape early in the game at the Britannia Stadium if things aren’t going well.

“We changed formations during games many times last season had a lot of success with it,” Ferguson said. “It’s important for us as it’s a strength that we can switch easily to a different system without making substitutions, but for one reason or another we haven’t been able to do it this season.

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“Stoke are another Championship team who like to play three centre-backs and they do it well so we need to be able to counter that.

“They have dangerous individuals like every side at this level. Jacob Brown is having an excellent season, but they will miss Harry Souttar at the back as he has also been very good.

“Stoke had a lull for a couple of seasons after relegation from the Premier League, but (manager) Michael O’Neill has turned them into a very good side.”

Posh have experienced defender Nathan Thompson back from suspension, but young forwards Joel Randall and Ricky-Jade Jones have lost their race to be fit.

Thompson is expected to start at right-back, but he could easily move to the middle of a back three if there is a formation change.

Thompson said: “The break should have done me plenty of good. I’ve felt fine physically anyway, but it’s always a good thing to get the chance to refresh. We’ve also had the chance to address the problems we’ve had away from home so hopefully that will help us get a result.

“Stoke is always a tough place to go, but if we hold our concentration, stay solid and stay in the game we could make their crowd apprehensive and take advantage. We must impose ourself more on away matches. Self-belief would then improve.

“Last season we could approach games knowing we had a great chance of taking three points no matter what happened, but that’s not the case in the Championship. There’s so much quality any lapses will be punished as Fulham proved in the last game.”