LATEST NEWS: Fringe players back in contention for a first-team place after reserve team draw

Joe Ward (right) scored twice for Posh reserves at Cambridge.
Joe Ward (right) scored twice for Posh reserves at Cambridge.
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Joe Ward and George Cooper played themselves into contention for a first-team start for Peterborough United over the Easter weekend with goal-scoring displays for the reserves today (March 26).

Ward, who played 45 minutes on the wing and 45 minutes as a striker, scored twice and Cooper was also on target in a 3-3 draw in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Cambridge United at the Abbey Stadium. Cooper impressed when switched to a number 10 role.

George Cooper scored for Posh Reserves at Cambridge Unuted.

George Cooper scored for Posh Reserves at Cambridge Unuted.

Posh dominated the game and led until throwing a host of youth team players into the fray late on.

“It was a good performance and a very worthwhile exercise,” Posh boss Steve Evans stated. “There were some good individual displays which gave me plenty to think about for the weekend.

“I’m a big fan of regular reserve team football. Players need to get through 90 minutes of competitive action as often as possible.

“For instance until we played Villa in a reserve team match last week George Cooper hadn’t played 90 minutes since leaving Crewe in January. It’s strange to spend that much money on a player and not play him, but I haven’t been able to because he wouldn’t have been match fit.

Posh centre-back Ryan Tafazolli after picking up an injury during the first-teamn draw with Bristol Rovers.

Posh centre-back Ryan Tafazolli after picking up an injury during the first-teamn draw with Bristol Rovers.

“Well he is now. He’s come through two lots of 90 minutes and he looked good today. He played out wide for a half and then as a number 10. I saw what he can do when he set up two goals against my Mansfield team earlier in the season and I’m looking forward to see him in action for Posh.

“Joe Ward was also excellent. He started his career as a striker and he looked very sharp in that role today. He scored once from the wing and once as a striker.

“Lewis Freestone also did well and players need to perform well in these games. Five of the players who played at Villa last week started against Bristol Rovers. I’m not saying that will be the case this weekend, but it shows what can happen.”

Young striker Idris Kanu, suspended skipper Jack Baldwin and midfielder Michael Doughty were others to take part at Cambridge.

Central defender Ryan Tafazolli’s fitness is due to be fully assessed tomorrow, but he is a doubt for the Easter programme after limping out of Saturday’s (March 24) draw with Bristol Rovers in the first few minutes.

Posh are at promotion rivals Rotherham on Good Friday (3pm) before hosting local rivals Northampton Town on Easter Monday at the ABAX Stadium (3pm).

Posh fitness coach Ben Mackenzie missed Saturday’s draw with Bristol Rovers because of illness.