The Peterborough United debate of the day: How strong a side should Darren Ferguson pick to take on Crawley Town in the EFL Trophy?

It’s quite the selection dilemma facing Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson ahead of Wednesday’s EFL Trophy tie against Crawley Town at the Weston Homes Stadium (7.30pm kick off).
Will David Ajiboye play for Posh against Crawley? Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.comWill David Ajiboye play for Posh against Crawley? Photo: Joe Dent/
Will David Ajiboye play for Posh against Crawley? Photo: Joe Dent/

Does he go strong with his team just three wins away from a possible return trip to Wembley 10 years after they won this Trophy? Posh are in the softer half of the draw with only Oxford United anywhere near them in the current Football League rankings.

Or does he prioritise the League One promotion push by protecting star players who have endured a run of tough games on rough and heavy pitches, particularly the one at London Road? Posh are back in action again at Charlton Athletic on Saturday.

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It could be a weakened team would be good enough to beat Crawley at home anyway, but Ferguson’s choices have been restricted by the departure of Peter Kioso, the expected departure (and calf injury) of Jonson Clarke-Harris, an injury to young full-back James Dornelly and the fact summer signing Jacob Wakeling is cup tied.

Will Joel Randall play for Posh against Crawley? Photo: David Lowndes.Will Joel Randall play for Posh against Crawley? Photo: David Lowndes.
Will Joel Randall play for Posh against Crawley? Photo: David Lowndes.

There might well have been a hint re selection with the under 21 line-up at Birmingham City today featuring Charlie O’Connell, Harley Mills and Kai Corbett, players I would have used against Crawley and who presumably won’t now start against Crawley. I’m still throwing one of the in.

I wanted to rest 10 of the 11 regular first-team players (Jadel Katongo should be fresh enough to play again) to give Posh the best chance of maintaining momentum and keeping the pressure on a suddenly wobbly Pompey team at the top of the League One table, but that now seems very unlikely.

I’d still leave a few out and have them on the bench in case the game is in the balance late on. I certainly wouldn’t want main men Ronnie Edwards, Hector Kyprianou, Archie Collins, Kwame Poku or Ephron Mason-Clark anywhere near this game if possible.

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My team: (3-4-2-1) Steer: Knight, Fernandez, Crichlow: Ajiboye, Fuchs, Katongo, Mills; De Havilland, Randall: Mothersille.

My PT colleague Ben Jones believes winning the EFL Trophy should be a priority.

He said: “We've got a realistic chance of winning this competition or at least getting to the final. Form and the league table says we're definitely the best team in the southern section so we shouldn’t waste a great chance to get to Wembley and win some silverware.

“My team balances giving people minutes while still playing some big hitters against a league 2 side who are going well. I’d like like to see Burrows, Collins, and RJJ rested, but the squad is too thin without going to unproven teenagers. There's no left winger to keep the normal formation so it’s 3 at the back for me, a formation that has worked in cups this season.”

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Ben’s team: (3-5-2): Steer: Knight, Katongo, Crichlow; Ajiboye, Collins, Fuchs, De Havilland, Burrows: Mothersille, RJJ.

And the views of the Posh fans...

Weak team for me after a tough match on Sunday, give some of the boys a rest – @TpdDunn

Give players who need it a rest, play the ones that are ok. Do not risk Edwards – @Trev112

We ain’t getting more than the play offs as Bolton and Derby will steamroll it. So we need this cup while staying consistent enough for the play offs – @Posh089

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Full team - I love to see us win trophies. That is what builds memories for me – @NGIanElrond

The fitness levels of our young team right now....... I'd push for the cup too personally - @SayWhatBigGuy

The Championship TV money doubles next season, so worth a lot of money to us – @Romysdad

Agree with Alan Swann. Chase £100K prize money and a day at Wembley or £500K minimum prize money for promotion + next season increased revenue – @SidDay1

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Give Steer 90 minutes, would look to start him at Charlton on Saturday as well. Nothing against Talley, but use Steer as he has quality & experience – @Kyle_Irving20

Now the semi-final is no longer a two legged affair I think we should go for it. Getting to Wembley last season didn’t do Plymouth or Bolton any harm. We We’ll only play another four matches in total if we lift the trophy. Our squad can cope with that. – @derren_Cooper.