Peterborough will be looking to maintain their 100% winning record ahead of back-to-back away clashes against Plymouth Argyle this week. The first tie, on Wednesday evening will be a repeat of last season’s clash which saw the Pilgrims romp to a 4-0 win. The latter meeting, on Saturday will resume League One action.
A turbulent season, worsened by the departure of winger Sikiri Dembele in January saw manager Darren Ferguson leave the club for a third time. His replacement Grant McCann returned to London Road for a second spell, having previously managed the club between 2018-19. Despite a slight improvement in results, the Northern Irishman’s record of four wins, four draws and seven losses still saw them finish four points adrift of 21st placed Reading.
His side have enjoyed a free scoring start following relegation back to League One, scoring a combined six goals against Cheltenham and Morecambe. This makes them the only side in the division to win both their opening two games. United endured a humbling return to the division, going 2-0 down at Cheltenham by half-time. However, second-half goals from Jack Marriott and Jonson Clarke-Harris saw them claw their way back to a 3-2 win. Winger Joel Ward has been a standout beneficiary of United’s relegation, recording as many goal contributions (three) in these games as he did in 38 appearances last season. Keeping the duo at the club has been a real success for the club over the summer. Both are easily Championship standard players and will aid their ambition to return there at the first attempt.
Despite playing in a 3-1-4-2 for much of last season, McCann has opted for a more attacking 4-3-3 in their opening two games. This has seen Marriott pushed out to the left, allowing him to utilise his pace more fluidly along with Ward also cutting inside as a second forward. Clarke-Harris, the main goal threat plays in the central role. The biggest change has come in the midfield, which is now a three, rather than what was effectively a five. This is down to the quality of options that Peterborough have in that position. Ben Thompson and Hector Kyprianou have joined from Gillingham and Leyton Orient respectively, playing alongside Jack Taylor in the midfield three.
Cameroon international Jeandro Fuchs made 18 appearances following his move from Dundee United in January and will also be vying for this role. Oli Norburn could also be added to this plethora of exciting options. However, the former Argyle man is currently on the sidelines following a serious knee ligament injury. The tactical change comes about due to circumstance more than anything else as United will look to dominate matches in this division, as opposed to last season where they often found themselves outclassed on a financial and quality level by their opposition
Whilst Clarke-Harris and Marriott understandably tend to grab the headlines, it has been defender Ronnie Edwards who many are surprised hasn’t left the club. The 19-year-old chalked up 34 appearances last season with his impressive performances attracting the interest of Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham amongst a host of other clubs this summer. The youngster added to his reputation as he helped England U19’s to Euro glory over the summer, beating Israel 3-1 after extra-time in the final. Director of football Barry Fry has stated that Edwards would return to the club on loan if any deal were to happen.
The two sides are likely to make numerous changes for the EFL Cup clash. The league encounter, however should be a much tastier affair and test of quality. Peterborough have won their previous two encounters at Home Park by an aggregate scoreline of 8-1 but one would expect two much closer encounters this time round.