Two reunions with promotion-winners as Peterborough United face Stoke City but not three, a manager under pressure and Posh seeking to pull off something they have never done before

Josef Bursik in action for Posh against Charlton last season. Photo: Joe Dent.Josef Bursik in action for Posh against Charlton last season. Photo: Joe Dent.
Josef Bursik in action for Posh against Charlton last season. Photo: Joe Dent.
Stoke City will have a couple of familiar faces in their squad as they travel to face Peterborough United on Saturday (March 12, 3pm).

Josef Bursik is certain to get a warm welcome from the crowd at the Weston Homes Stadium. The ‘keeper played six times for the club while on an emergency loan deal at the end of last season and helped the club to get over the line and into the Championship. He saved a penalty in a crucial 1-0 April win at Charlton.

He may have to settle for a place on the bench though, having done so for the past four matches after being dropped following a 2-1 defeat at home to Luton in February. He has played 16 times in the Championship this season. He missed three months of the season, between November and January with a torn quad muscle.

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James Chester is more likely to start though. The centre back played five games on loan at London Road from Manchester United in the League One promotion season of 2008-09. The 33-year-old has been in and out of Michael O’Neill’s team this season but played 90 minutes in the 1-1 draw at Barnsley on Tuesday.

Matthew Etherington will not get the chance to be involved against his old club though. He has returned to his role as Under 23s manager after Grant McCann brought in Cliff Byrne as his assistant and promoted Youth Development Lead Phse Coach Ryan Semple to assisting the team on matchdays.

Etherington made 177 appearances for Stoke across six successive seasons in the Premier League between 2008 and 2014. He also started the 2011 FA Cup final where they were beaten by Manchester City.


Stoke edge the recent form but only just. The Potters have taken just three points from their last six leagues games, Posh have taken two in the same period. The sides are second bottom and bottom of the six-game form table.

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Stoke were fourth when they beat Posh in November but have now slipped down to 15th and boss Mochael O’Neill is coming under pressure from fans, not just for the slide but for the club’s style of play.


Getting the win would still be no mean feat for Posh. They have never beaten Stoke in a Football League match. The Potters have won six and drawn three of the nine meetings and came out on top, with a 2-0 win at the Bet365 Stadium earlier this season.

The last meeting at London Road finished 2-1 to Stoke in a 2002 Division Two match. David Farrell scored after just two minutes for Posh but Stoke eventually won with a 90th minute Marc Goodfellow goal.


Lewis Baker has been scoring goals from midfield since his arrival from Chelsea in January. He has five in 11 games, including a 95th minute equaliser at Barnsley on Tuesday that was certainly celebrated by Posh fans. That leaves Baker as the club’s second highest scorer this season. Jacob Brown tops the charts with eight but hasn’t scored in over a month.

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Welsh international Joe Allen is still in the heart of midfield and just behind him is fellow veteran, 39-year-old Phil Jagielka. He left Derby earlier in the season after restrictions caused by the club’s administration left them unable to renew his contract, much to the annoyance of Wayne Rooney.


Dean Whitestone, from Northampton, will be the man with the whistle. Posh have failed to score in the three previous times he has refereed Posh this season. He took charge of the 1-0 away defeat to Preston and the 1-0 and 2-0 home defeats against Fulham and Sheffield United respectively.


Posh are 12/5 to beat Stoke with the Potters at 11/10 and the draw at 5/2.

Posh are currently a humbling 1/16 to go down- they were 1/20 before they drew at Bournemouth. Derby at 1/8, Barnsley at 1/4 and Reading at 10/11.

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