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Paolo's Preview - a look ahead to Posh 2020/21

The 2020/21 season is just around the corner as Peterborough United kick off their new campaign at home to Cheltenham Town this Saturday (3pm) in the Carabao Cup. 
Chris Turner statue
Chris Turner statue at Posh ground. Photo: John Baker

Games will come thick and fast for Darren Ferguson and his team, who will then welcome Burton Albion at the Weston Homes Stadium on Tuesday evening in the EFL Trophy. Before Posh travel to Accrington Stanley the following Saturday to begin their EFL League One campaign.

Ahead of the brand-new season, I spoke to fellow Peterborough United supporters on specific topics, including who will be the key man, games to look out for, and signing of the summer so far.

Darren Ferguson's key man this season

Ivan Toney was arguably Peterborough United best performer last season after netting 26 goals in 39 games – ending as League One's top goal scorer. Posh supporters recognised his impressive form, voting him as player of the season for 2019/20. But also fellow League One supporters after Toney was voted League One's player of the season. However, the 24-year-old completed his move to Brentford on Monday, so who will be the player to step-up this season. 

Fellow Posh supporter, Jamie Iantosca, believes his partner in crime last season will be crucial for Darren Ferguson. He said: "Tough one, I think Siriki Dembele. He had an impressive second-half last season and seemed to be thriving in his new role. He's had a strong pre-season and seems to partner up well with Mo Eisa."

Dembele struggled to feature in the opening months of the last campaign before Ferguson partnered him alongside Toney in the back-end of last season. The 23-year-old formed a fantastic partnership with Toney, contributing four goals and seven assists in nine games. The tricky winger has also continued his fine form into pre-season after netting three goals. Dembele looks to be a crucial player for Ferguson this campaign, especially with Toney's departure.

Which Posh academy graduate will impress this season?

Darragh MacAnthony and the fellow board members at Peterborough United have shown a desire to help push academy players into the first team. Last season, we saw that with 17-year-old Ricky Jade-Jones, who made 16 appearances for Ferguson's side. He went onto score four senior goals and was awarded United's young player of the season.

Elliot Hill, Posh supporter, believes he will retain the award next season but needs to improve on a few aspects of his game in the upcoming campaign. He said: "With Toney, all but out of the Peterborough squad and Clarke-Harris brought in to be his replacement. It looks like Ricky Jade-Jones is in the same place of the pecking order for next season at Posh. Although, I still expect him to retain the young player of the season award.

"To kick on, I would like to see Jade-Jones look to shoot more as the next step of development. In League One last season, he recorded just 0.93 shots, per 90 minutes, compared to Ivan Toney's 4.22 in the 2019/2020 season. After a good pre-season in the blue and white to continue his progress and solidify himself as one of the best young players in League One."

Posh supporters should be hugely excited about the development of Jade-Jones. His lightning pace and finishing are way beyond his age of 17 years old and will cause havoc among League One defenders.

Despite the arrival of Clarke-Harris, the young striker is still expected to feature numerous times for the upcoming season, notably with the hectic schedule in September.

Harrison Burrows, Kyle Barker, and Sam Cartwright are just a few more academy graduates you could expect to see in Peterborough United colours this season. 

Who will replace Ivan Toney's goals?

Darren Ferguson has looked to strengthen his 23-man squad to make that leap to the Championship come May after narrowly missing out on play-offs due to EFL's PPG system. Posh have brought in six new players, including former Manchester United graduate Ethan Hamilton, playmaker Ryan Broom and Jonson Clarke-Harris. And we can expect Posh to still be very active in the transfer market until it slams shut on 4th October.

RS23216_THS-Peterborough-United-v-Conventry-Friendly-with-Covid19-Measues-1220On the pitch Jonson Clarke-Harris and Ryan Broom were among the newcomers last week. Photo:
Although the recruitment of Cheltenham's Ryan Broom is highly regarded among supporters, Luke Williamson believes Toney's replacement, Clarke-Harris, will be an important player this season.

He said: "He has the big shoes of League One Player of the Year Ivan Toney to fill and will be tasked with doing so from the very start. If he can improve on his 16 goals from last season, Posh fans will love him, as he offers that big-man presence we will lose when Toney inevitably leaves. His style of play will complement that of his partner, whether that be Mo Eisa, Siriki Dembele, or Ricky Jade-Jones. All three will benefit from playing with a target man but also someone who is also very good technically. Clarke-Harris will definitely be exciting the fans once they are allowed back into the stadium."

As mentioned above, Clarke-Harris played regularly for Bristol Rover last season, scoring 16 goals in 35 appearances. The 26-year-old has a similar physical presence to Toney, and while his goalscoring form might not be as impressive as Toney's, he has good experience playing at this level – featuring in 154 games in League One.

Plenty of challenges ahead for Posh

They are several challenging and compelling games to look out for as a Peterborough United fan this season. Local rivalries against Northampton Town, who gained promotion via play-offs last season, and MK Dons are games already written down in supporters' diaries for the upcoming campaign.

Unfortunately, in the current government guidelines regarding COVID-19, away supporters are not likely to be in attendance until 2021, meaning Posh supporters won't be able to travel down to Northampton on October 10, and the away fixture against MK Dons on December 15 could also be without the away support. Although the electric atmosphere in the stands will be removed, you can still expect a thrilling encounter on the pitch.

RS23224_THS-Peterborough-United-v-Conventry-Friendly-with-Covid19-Measues-1228Christy Pym grew into the goalkeeping role as last season went on. Photo:

The fixture against Lincoln City got tense on the pitch last season. In which Dembele got a straight red for headbutting an opponent in the away fixture. Posh will travel to LNER Stadium just after the new year - with away fans expected to return - before the two sides meet in Peterborough's final home game of the season. 

However, Peterborough United supporter, Nathan Brown, believes the double-header against Portsmouth is the game to look out for. He said: "I would say Portsmouth, we always have great games against them, especially at Fratton Park. Two teams who like to play the right way, and it's always high scoring and tension all the way!"

And high scoring it is. In the last two appearances at Fratton Park, four or more goals have been scored – with Posh undefeated with a 3-2 win in April 2019 and 2-2 stalemate a few months later in December.

Ferguson's side will travel to Fratton Park on December 5, before welcoming Pompey in a potentially thrilling tie on March 13.

Let us know below some of your predictions for the upcoming season. Who will be Peterborough United’s standout player, games you are looking forward to and signing that has impressed you so far.

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