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Paolo's Posh Preview: Fulham U21s

Peterborough United are back in EFL Trophy action this evening as they face Fulham U21 at the Weston Homes Stadium, kick-off at 6:00pm.
Posh ground. Photo: John Baker

Darren Ferguson’s men could seal qualification into the next round of EFL Trophy with a victory over the Premier League youth side if local rivals Cambridge United beat Burton Albion.

Posh open their campaign in EFL Trophy with a win over Burton Albion last month after going all the way to penalties after a six-goal thriller in the 90 minutes. However, under these confusing rules, Posh was only awarded a point for the draw plus a point for penalty win, sitting on two points instead of three.

How are Posh expected to line-up?

Ferguson has confirmed that he will start a strong side against Fulham U21 as he looks for a win to put them on verge of qualifying for the next round.

A few youngsters could also return to the starting eleven who faced Burton Albion last month, including Harrison Burrows, Idris Kanu and 17-year-old Ronnie Edwards, who impressed Ferguson on his competitive debut against the Brewers last month.

Flynn Clarke, who featured and scored against Burton in the EFL trophy last month, will not be available for selection after being called-up to the Scotland U19 squad to face England this week.

Team News

Posh will be without Ricky Jade-Jones after a leg injury continues to cause issues, and he is doubtful for local derby against Northampton Town on Saturday.

Niall Mason will return to the squad after suffering concussion in behind-closed-door friendly last week, while Frazer Blake-Tracy and Sammie Szmodics are set to feature to build match sharpness.

Predicted line-up: Gyollai; Ward, Mason, Edwards, Kent, Blake-Tracey; Brown, Hamilton, Szmodics; Jade-Jones and Eisa

Opposition View

Unfortunately, Posh will not be facing the struggling Fulham side currently in the Premier League.

However, their U21 haven’t been in much better form in the Premier League 2, winning once in their opening three games and recently losing 2-0 against Norwich City’s youngsters on Friday night.

Their EFL Trophy campaign started off with a visit to Peterborough’s local rivals Cambridge United, as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at the Abbey Stadium.

Key Player – Fabio Carvalho

An exciting, young playmaker who has an eye for goal, while setting up his teammates for plenty of opportunities. He can prominently play as winger but does also slot into the number 10 position behind the striker, which saw him collect 11 goals and eight assists for Fulham U23s and 18s last season.

Although he’s 18, Carvalho has experienced senior football under Scott Parker, playing in a pre-season friendly against MK Dons and training with first team on multiple occasions. If Posh want to keep a clean-sheet tomorrow night, then keeping Carvalho quiet is a must.


Past meetings

Unsurprisingly, Peterborough United have never faced Fulham U21 in a competitive fixture, so instead, I decided to look back over Posh’s recent meetings against all Premier League youth sides in this competition.

Last season, Ferguson’s men faced Arsenal U21’s at the Weston Homes Stadium and nicked a narrow 1-0 victory over the Gunners, as Joe Ward’s deflected shot wrong-footed goalkeeper Macey.

In the 2018/19 season, Posh came up against two Premier League U21 sides, losing to Brighton & Hove Albion on penalties in the group stage, before beating Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the third round.

Since the introduction of U21 sides in EFL Trophy back in 2016/17 season, Posh have only lost once in the 90 minutes in that first season, thrashed 6-1 by Norwich City and missed out on round two of the competition.


Last five meetings

Posh 1-0 Arsenal U21 – EFL Trophy 2019/20

Chelsea U21 1-3 Posh – EFL Trophy quarter-final 2018/19

Posh 2 (4) – (5) 2 Brighton U21 – EFL Trophy 2018/19

Posh 3-1 Southampton U21 – EFL Trophy 2017/18

Posh 1-6 Norwich City – EFL Trophy 2016/17


Peterborough Matters Prediction

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen much of Fulham U21 to see whether they can cause danger among Peterborough United’s backline. However, these youngsters have a platform of opportunity to make themselves and compete, so we can expect an energetic showing.

However, Ferguson has confirmed to start a strong line-up and wants to make sure Posh qualify for the next round.

Posh 3-0 Fulham