Posh boss Darren Ferguson pinpoints the pivotal moments of the 2020-21 season
There are decisive moments in any promotion campaign and Posh even had one before the 2020-21 season started.
Manager Darren Ferguson took the PT back to June last year when asked to pinpoint some pivotal moments of a glorious season.
The 2020-21 season had just finally been curtailed to the horror of Posh who were in top form and facing a routine run-in as they prepared to challenge for automatic promotion.
Instead they were bumped out of the play-off places by a controversial points-per-game formula and consigned to another season of League One football.
“This promotion has been two seasons in the making,” Ferguson stated. “We’ve all had to work incredibly hard to get there.
“There are always key moments in a season and we actually had one last summer, before we started playing again, when we managed to get Jonson Clarke-Harris to replace Ivan Toney.
“I knew he was the best chance of replacing Ivan and I knew he was a good character because I won’t sign anyone who might affect the dressing room in a bad way, but I didn’t realise how good he was and what a humble, yet determined, man he was.
“Jonson was driven and focused from day one, not for personal glory, but for promotion and he ended up with both. Whenever you hear him speak though he’s always thanking his teammates.
“We had to get him fitter, but there was no stopping him once he got going. He delivered when we needed it most on so many occasions and the club had once again found a striker who would score many goals.
“It’s an incredible recruitment record we have. No-one does it better.
“I felt we had a chance at the start of the season and what we became good at was pulling a result out when we needed it most.
“I’d even say the second game of the season against Fleetwood was a big one. We were trailing after 90 minutes and yet won the game and that was huge for us. We hadn’t come from behind to win at all the previous season.
“The win against Rochdale before Christmas was another important one, but I’d say the win against Accrington at home was even bigger.
“We’d struggled in our two previous matches (lost a 2-0 lead at Rochdale before losing comfortably at Blackpool) and at Blackpool I didn’t recognise the players and we looked like a team who had lost their way.
“I hate it when my side looks like they haven’t been coached. It’s an awful feeling. It happened at Portsmouth when we used a midfield diamond and played as though we didn’t understand the formation and it happened again at Blackpool (Posh played 4-4-1-1 in that game). Those performances hurt me.
“At Blackpool we also started arguing amongst ourselves and I was cautioned for arguing with the referee.
“When we returned to work I sat the players down and insisted there would be no more criticism of each other and we set out a plan of action for the rest of the season.
“We were ruthless against Accrington and so got back on track. That was the end of an important week for us.
“Winning at Fleetwood over Easter was another big win and we got ourselves into a great position in the middle of March.
“I felt we would have to beat Swindon, Northampton and Gillingham to get up automatically, but we lost the last of those games. Thankfully we responded with a great win at Charlton, but then messed up again at home to Doncaster.
“It was then time to re-focus so I had the media guys at the club print off some of the fantastic places we would visit next season in the Championship if we were to win promotion and stuck them on the wall for a team meeting.
“It still looked as though it was all slipping away from us in the Lincoln game, but we got there in the end and we thoroughly deserved it. It’s a fantastic achievement.”