Paolo's Preview: Accrington Stanley
Six months since Peterborough United’s 2-0 win over Portsmouth, League One football returns as Darren Ferguson’s men travel to Crown Ground to face Accrington Stanley in the season opener, kick-off at 7pm.
The 2019/20 season has already started for Posh last weekend in a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Cheltenham Town in the Carabao Cup, before nicking an extra point against Burton Albion in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday evening after a stalemate in 90 minutes.
Attention now turns to the League One campaign, as Posh will want to hit the ground running against Stanley this weekend.
How do we expect Posh to line-up?
Ferguson made numerous of changes to his squad in their latest EFL Trophy tie against Burton Albion on Tuesday which saw Jonson Clarke-Harris earn his first competitive debut, alongside fellow summer recruit Ethan Hamilton. Clarke-Harris, who joined in August, still lacked match sharpness, which saw him taken off at half-time as a pre-planned substitute but Ferguson has confirmed his fitness has progressed in training this week and is definitely in his thinking ahead of Saturday.
The biggest news of this week was perhaps the return of Sammie Szmodics on a four-year deal from Bristol City after spending half of last season on-loan at Posh in which he netted four goals and contributed four assists in 10 appearances. However, the game against Accrington Stanley might be too soon for 24-year-old to make an instant return after just arriving on Tuesday, but will provide a useful outlet on the bench.
The only injury concern for Ferguson heading into League One’s opening game is teenager Ricky Jade-Jones who suffered an ankle injury in Posh’s final pre-season game against Coventry City, alongside Frazer Blake-Tracey (hamstring).
Barring any new injury concerns, we expect Peterborough United to keep their starting eleven from last Saturday, with Szmodics on the bench.
Predicted line-up: Pym; Ward, Thompson, Beevers, Kent, Butler; Brown, Taylor, Broom; Dembele and Eisa
The Opposition View
Accrington Stanley has enjoyed a decent start to the 2020/21 season after progressing to next round of Carabao Cup, beating Burton Albion on penalties after a 1-1 draw in 90 minutes. Then, thrashed Leeds United U-21 side 7-0 in the EFL Trophy yesterday (Tuesday 8th September) evening.
Ahead of this weekend game at Crown Ground, we spoke to fellow Accrington Stanley fan, Oliver, to give us insight on what to expect from his side and the player to look out for.
“We are trying out a new system this season, used to play a 4-4-2 but we are changing to a 3-4-1-2 this season with two wing-backs. We like to play football, playing it out from the back and keeping the ball on the ground, for the most part, we will try to utilise our CB's passing abilities and getting the ball upfield when we see an opening. The majority of the game you will see us try and use the width of the pitch, getting it out to our two fast wing-backs, pushing up the wings and getting a cross in. We will try to control the game and keep possession, but it will be difficult against an aggressive and fast posh side, but will not stop us trying though.”
Key Player: Tariq Uwakwe
“We signed the 20-year-old on Monday, on loan from Chelsea. He made his first start against Leeds U21 in the Leasing trophy on Tuesday, scored in the first 4 minutes and ended the game with a hattrick and an assist. He is skilful, pacy and has an undeniable amount of talent. He can play LW/RW or in an AM spot. As he is left-footed if he features, you are likely to see him in the LWB position.”
The last time these two sides met was back in January of this year, as Posh won 2-0 away at Crown Ground. Recent summer signing, Szmodics, opened the scoring as his deflected shot wrong-footed the keeper before Joe Ward tapped home from 10 yards to give Posh a vital three points – which turned out to be irrelevant come June.
Past meetings present pleasant reading for Posh supporters, as the last three fixtures have seen Posh win by more than a two-goal advantage – 4-0 highest score line - without conceding a single goal.
Last five meetings
Accrington Stanley 0-2 Peterborough United – January 28, 2020
Posh 4-0 Accrington Stanley – October 23, 2019
Accrington Stanley 0-4 Posh – December 29, 2018
Posh 0-1 Accrington Stanley – October 20, 2018
Posh 8-2 Accrington Stanley – January 15, 2008
Peterborough Matters Prediction
Posh failed to win in their opening three games last, and you could argue that the slow start played a massive part on missing out on the play-off spots, so a solid start is needed against Accrington Stanley.