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Paolo's Posh Preview - Fleetwood Town away

Peterborough United supporters will hope that the Easter bunny can deliver Darren Ferguson’s men three points as they face Fleetwood Town in a League One fixture.
Jonson Clarke-Harris took his second hat-trick of the season against Accrington Stanley last week - what does Easter weekend have in store? (Photo: Joe Dent)

Posh will travel to the Highbury Stadium to face Simon Grayson’s side on Good Friday with new confidence after thrashing Accrington Stanley 7-0 at the Weston Homes Stadium last Saturday.

Jonson Clarke netted in his second hat-trick of the season, ending a poor run of goalscoring form that saw one goal in six, while Sammie Szmodics, Mo Eisa and Idris Kanu also chipped in with goals, with the latter scoring his first-ever goal for the club.

Ferguson will be keen to maintain this form over the Easter period, starting today when they travel to Fleetwood Town, before a top of the table clash against Sunderland on Monday.

Team news and predicted line-up

After a few bad weeks for injury news, Darren Ferguson has received some positive news this week: Jack Taylor was declared fit to play over the Easter period. The midfielder has missed the last seven games, in which Posh have only won twice, but will return at a key stage of the season.

Taylor could be unlikely to start against Fleetwood Town, though, after just returning from a lengthy injury, especially if Ferguson has one eye on Sunderland on Easter Monday.

Siriki Dembele missed the 7-0 victory over Accrington Stanley on Saturday as he continued to battle with a back problem. However, the winger trained all week and is available for selection. Could it be the same scenario as Taylor, where Dembele is rested in preparation for Sunderland?

Predicted line-up: Pym; Thompson, Beevers, Kent, Butler; Ward, Reed, Brown, Burrows; Szmodics and Clarke-Harris.

Opposition view

At one point in the season, Fleetwood Town looked like potential playoff contenders under Joey Barton’s stewardship, sitting three points off the playoff places at the beginning of January. However, the former Newcastle midfielder left the club on January 4 amid growing tensions, and the Cod Army haven’t been able to recover since.

Now under the management of Simon Grayson, Fleetwood sits in 15th, seven points off the play-off places - and have turned around in form.

Grayson’s men have picked up three wins in the last five, conceding just two goals in that time, notably beating automatic promotion chasers Lincoln City in the early weeks of March.

Fleetwood has enjoyed playing at home this season with the seventh-best record in League One, picking up 31 points out of a possible 37, which could be a worrying sign for Posh, who hasn’t won on their travels in the last four games.

Previous meeting

Posh supporters will not want a complete replica of the game these two sides played earlier in the season; it was a win, but a dramatic one with two goals in stoppage time.

Fleetwood Town opened the scoring in the 55th minute when Callum Camps superbly volleyed in low from 12 yards out.

Posh searched for the equaliser for the rest of the second half, and then in the first minute into stoppage, Taylor struck on a half-volley from just inside the area and rifled the ball past the goalkeeper.

Four minutes later, in the 95th minute of play, Szmodics fired home from a similar distance, earning Posh's first points of the season and sparking mass celebrations on the bench.

Worryingly for Posh supporters, their side has only won once in five fixtures at Highbury Stadium, with the last victory coming in December 2017. So, it hasn’t been a delightful ground for Ferguson’s men in recent history.

Last five meetings

Posh 2-1 Fleetwood Town – Sep 2020

Fleetwood Town 2-1 Posh – Feb 2020

Posh 1-3 Fleetwood Town – Aug 2019

Fleetwood Town 1-1 Posh – Apr 2019

Posh 1-0 Fleetwood Town – Oct 2018

PeterboroughMatters prediction

After a disappointing two games, Posh sparked into life last Saturday when they thrashed Accrington Stanley 7-0. It was good to see Clarke-Harris re-finding his goalscoring form. Eyes will be rightly on Easter Monday when they welcome Sunderland, but their need to concentrate on getting past a rejuvenated Fleetwood Town.

Fleetwood Town 0-2 Posh