Fast Peterborough United starts often turn into false starts

Posh tar Britt Assombalonga is tackled by Harry Maguire of Sheffield United.
Posh tar Britt Assombalonga is tackled by Harry Maguire of Sheffield United.
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Fast starts are nothing new for Peterborough United.

In the six seasons following that agonising relegation from the Championship in May, 2013, Posh have been in the top six four times when the leaders in League One had completed 12 games.

Posh enjoyed a fast start under Grant McCann's management.

Posh enjoyed a fast start under Grant McCann's management.

Finishing a season strongly has been more of a problem as Posh have contested the League One play-offs just once since relegation.

That was in the 2013-14 campaign when a Britt Assombalonga-inspired Posh won 10 and drew one of their opening 12 League One matches to sit second. They eventually finished sixth, the last play-off slot.

Posh were also second after 12 games the following season, but went on to finish ninth.

They were fifth with a game in hand on the leaders after 11 matches last season under the management of Grant McCann, lost their next outing to fall to ninth and again went onto finish ninth.

This season’s 24-point tally is the best after 12 games since the 2013-14 campaign, but recent history is against Posh hanging around the top all season.

And just as a fast start is no guarantee of success, a slow start is not certain to lead to failure.

Millwall were 19th after 12 matches of the 2016-17 season and went onto finish sixth before winning the play-offs.

Similarly Barnsley were bottom of the table after losing at London Road in November 2015, but rallied to finish sixth and win the play-offs.

Sheffield United were seventh after 12 games of the 2016-17 and went on to win the title.

League One after 12 games: 2013-14: 1 Orient 31pts, 2 POSH 31, 3 Wolves 29, 4 Preston 23, 5 Bradford C 22, 6 Walsall 22, 7 Brentford 21, 9 Rotherham 20. Promoted: Wolves, Brentford, Rotherham (play-offs).

Posh finished 6th with 74 points, lost in play-off semi-final to Orient.

2014-15: 1 Bristol City 28pts, 2 POSH 23, 3 Swindon 21, 4 MK Dons 19, 5 Preston 19, 6 Chesterfield 18. Promoted: Bristol City, MK Dons, Preston (play-offs)

Posh finished 9th with 63 pts

2015-16: 1 Walsall 25pts, 2 Burton 25, 3 Gillingham 24, 4 Bury 23, 5 Coventry 22, 6 Sheff Utd 20, 8 POSH 17. 10 Wigan 17, 13 Barnsley 14. Promoted: Wigan, Burton, Barnsley (play-offs)

Posh finished 13th with 63pts.

2016-17: 1 Scunthorpe 25pts, 2 Bradford 24, 3 Bury 20, 4 Port Vale 20, 5 Bolton 19, 6 Rochdale 18, 7 Sheff Utd 17, 9 POSH 17, 19 Millwall 12. Promoted: Sheff Utd, Bolton, Millwall (play-offs)

Posh finished 11th with 62 pts.

2017-18: 1 Shrewsbury 30pts, 2 Wigan 28, 3 Bradford C 28, 4 Rotherham 21, 5 POSH 20 (11 games), 6 Charlton 20. 7 Blackburn 19, Promoted: Wigan, Blackburn, Rotherham (play-offs).

Posh finished 9th with 64 points.

2018-19: 1 Portsmouth 27pts, 2 POSH 24, 3 Sunderland 23, 4 Barnsley 22, 5 Walsall 22, 6 Doncaster 21.

Sky Bet make Posh 11/4 fifth favourites to win promotion to the Championship behind Barnsley (1/2), Sunderland (10/11), Portsmouth (11/10) and Luton (9/4)