Peterborough United FC

Key player: Siriki Dembele

The tricky winger enjoyed an explosive end to the 2019/20 season. Having recorded just a single goal and assist in his first 13 appearances, the 23-year-old recorded 11 goal contributions in the final nine matches of the campaign (4G, 7A). This coincided with a change in position for the former Grimsby man who had previously been playing either as a winger or advanced midfielder. Instead he was tasked with a forwards role alongside the now departed Ivan Toney. This role reduced the defensive duties of Dembele and allowed him to remain forward, being lethal on the counter attack with his pace and trickery.

It should be noted that, while Dembele is a key player for Peterborough, new signing Sammie Szmodics would have probably been listed had his transfer gone through a couple of days earlier, before I wrote this!

See the whole League One Season Preview 2020/21

Manager: Darren Ferguson

With four promotions on his CV, three of which were with Peterborough, Darren Ferguson will be hoping that he can propel Peterborough to the Championship once more after narrowly missing out on the Play-Offs last season. Having taken charge of over 600 Football League games, the 48-year-old is without doubt one of the most experienced heads in the English leagues and currently enjoying his third spell with the Posh. Known to be fiery like his famous father, Sir Alex Ferguson, the former Preston boss was previously charged by the FA for suggesting that League One referees deserved to be shot following his Doncaster side’s 1-1 draw with Plymouth Argyle in January 2018.

Dangerman: Mo Eisa

Following the big money departure of Ivan Toney to Championship outfit Brentford, Eisa and new signing Jonson Clarke-Harris will be tasked with replacing the goals of the 24-year-old who scored 24 times, assisting a further six in just 32 League One appearances last season. Eisa notched an impressive 14 goals in 29 games, but began to fall out of favour as the season ended. The former Cheltenham man was selected to start over Clarke-Harris and played the full 90 minutes in the 1-0 defeat to his former club in the EFL Cup whilst the latter was an unused substitute, so he appears to be favoured going into the start of the season. It remains to be seen whether manager Darren Ferguson will find a way to incorporate the pair together into his system.

Last season: 7th in League One

It was another so close yet so far season for Peterborough as they finished seventh for the second season running, missing out on the Play-Offs by a solitary point and automatic promotion by just three points. The club was one of few to publicly disagree with the points per game solution to end the season, instead wanting to finish the season and play it out in full.

On the pitch, consistency was the main issue for Ferguson’s side, failing to win any of their first three games but then going on to score 15 without reply in their next four. Christmas time was perhaps where the most damage was done as Posh went on a six match winless streak, failing to score in five of those games, falling from third to ninth in the League One table. Six consecutive wins followed but a 2-1 defeat to fellow Play-Off chasing Fleetwood proved to be the result that ended their promotion hopes.

Key departure: Ivan Toney

The 24-year-old had effectively won the League One golden boot by New Year’s Day, after smashing 24 goals last season. Paddy Madden (Fleetwood), Ian Henderson (Rochdale) and Armand Gnanduillet (Blackpool) were the now Brentford man’s closest challengers with 15 each.

The former Newcastle player scored 35% of Peterborough’s goals last season and will be an incredibly tough act to follow after recording back-to-back 20 goal seasons in all competitions. Mo Eisa and new signing Jonson Clarke-Harris will be tasked with upping their contributions from last campaign. The likes of Siriki Dembele and Ryan Broom will also be expected to chip in with goals, so with a number of attacking options at Ferguson’s disposal, Toney’s departure hopefully shouldn’t be as much of a hammer blow as it would have been to other sides in the division.

Target: Promotion

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Posh will be hoping to go one better in the forthcoming campaign. In Darren Ferguson they possess a manager with experience of getting out of League One, having already done it with the club twice in previous spells as manager.

The club might have lost Ivan Toney, and attacking midfielder Marcus Maddison, over the summer but with replacements and existing players already in place to take over, the transition into the new season should be a comfortable one. With a primarily young squad another year older, they should be spurred on to make sure that Peterborough don’t miss out on the Play-Offs as narrowly as they have done in the previous two seasons. The quality is there, it’s just consistency that needs to be maintained.

Opposition view

(provided by Peterborough United podcast The Yellow Block)

The 2020/21 season is very much ‘Operation: Revenge’ for Posh, with our fanbase still feeling massively aggrieved at the way the EFL concluded last season. In the play-offs, in form and with a decent run-in, only to be shafted by the powers that be. The upsurge in form towards the end of last campaign means that many Posh fans still have lofty hopes of automatics, but when you factor in the loss of talisman Ivan Toney, plus a lethargic dealing in the transfer market and suddenly the outlook is more unknown.

There’s little doubt that the playoffs remain the firm target for Peterborough this campaign though, but with an ever-increasing host of competitive clubs in the division and the introduction of a wage cap, just being able to challenge for those knockout spots would be seen as a successful outing for most of the fans. Consistency, avoiding the annual Christmas-slump and a step up in form from some of the squad would also constitute success for the club going forwards.

 

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League One Season Preview 2020/21