Posh boss urges his players to embrace the challenge of Sunderland and the subplot involving Sammie Szmodics

The irresistible force meets the immovable object at the Weston Homes Stadium today when Peterborough United host Sunderland (April 5, 3pm kick off) in a crunch battle in the race for automatic promotion.

Monday, 5th April 2021, 9:14 am
Sammie Szmodics in action for Posh at Fleetwood on Good Friday. Photo: David Lowndes.

Posh are the leading scorers in League One, while in-form Sunderland, who have won nine and draw two of their last 11 League One games, have the division’s best defensive record.

Posh are currently second in League One, but third-placed Sunderland are just two points behind and have a game in hand.

And Posh boss Darren Ferguson has urged his players to embrace the occasion rather than shy away from it. It’s a huge disappointment to everyone at both clubs that no fans will be present, but the game is being screened live on television which adds even more pressure.

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“I will enjoy today and I will enjoy the run-in,” Ferguson insisted. “It’s a bit more difficult for the players to enjoy themselves so it’s my job to use my experience and keep them calm. “In virtually every season at Peterborough I’ve either been chasing promotion or trying to avoid relegation from the Championship. It was either promotion or relegation when I was at Doncaster as well.

“I’m used to having plenty riding on games at the end of a season and I want them to embrace this position rather than shy away from it.”

Among the subplots today is Posh star Sammie Szmodics facing Sunderland manager Lee Johnson. Johnson signed Szmodics for Bristol City in July, 2019, but barely played him.

“Lee’s a great manager and Bristol City are a great club,” Szmodics told talkSport over the weekend. “But I only played about four games for them so I want to get back to the Championship to prove I can play at that level.

“Obviously it’s a massive match against Sunderland, but there are only three points to play like every other match.”