Peterborough United Season Preview

poshThe Football Lab interviewed Peterborough United fan Mark Watson, ahead of the new season. You can follow him on Twitter @Markwatson___. Here, he discusses departure of right-backs Little and Alcock, his confidence that the club could replace Britt Assombalonga if he left, and the club’s excessive ambition last season.

Manager Darren Ferguson, having signed a new 3 year deal, said the club has been overly ambitious in recent years. Do you see this as a slight pop at the chairman, Darragh MacAnthony?When Ferguson said that Peterborough have been overly ambitious, I would agree with him. Take last season, I personally believe that wanting to win the league and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, especially with losing a key player like Dwight gayle, was always extremely ambitious. Although we’ve been successful in the JPT, its only a consolation prize as for me and I’m sure 100% of supporters would have preferred to get promoted. As to whether it was a dig at MacAnthony, no, I’m not sure it was. They both say, and it certainly seems as though they have a great working relationship, and in my opinion are made for each other.

The club has developed a habit of producing very good strikers, and then selling them on. Do you fear the same will happen with Britt Assombalonga?

When it comes to Britt Assombalonga, anyone who has seen this lad play will know he is destined to bigger and better things. Although its always a bit scary as a supporter to lose such a player, I have total faith in the manager and chairman to bring in the next young talent, like they have done in the past. Although these young lads use us as a stepping stone, I personally don’t mind, as them knowing they will be allowed to move on when the better opportunity comes, means we get these players over other clubs.

The next forward hoping to make a name at London Road, is Erhun Oztumer. Does his goalscoring record at Dulwich Hamlet give you optimism?

With Erhun Oztumer’s goal scoring history at Dulwich, he promises to be the next big signing to come to London road. I only hope there isn’t to much pressure put onto the lad, especially with him still getting settled and used to training more than once a week.

Of the players released, was captain Tommy Rowe the most surprising departure?

When Tommy Rowe left the club, no-one was surprised, as it was common knowledge all season that he was unwilling to sign a contract. Although last season was probably his worst with us, he well deserves the move he wanted. I for one wish him well.

Gabriel Zakuani signs on a free, just five months after he left the club. Will it be a happy return?

The return of Gabriel Zakuani to the club is a happy time for everyone. In my opinion, he should never have left in the first place, Zakuani is a bit of a legend with Peterborough United and still lived in the area, and was often seen at games. With our defensive problems, and loosing three defenders at the end of the season, it was a bit of a no-brainer, with zakuani being a free agent. The return of such a fans favorite was also a good move by the manager, at a time when a large number of supporters were starting to get on his back and calling for him to leave the club.

Right-backs Mark Little and Craig Alcock have left, with no direct replacement to date. Is this a position that needs strengthening?

the departure of mark little and Craig Alcock has left both fullback roles vacant altho young kgosi ntlhe a favorite of the manager who featured a lot last season looks set to take the left back role while man city youngster and new loan singing adam drury looks a guarantee for right back.

Midfielder Danny Swanson featured heavily last season. Were you disappointed he rejected a new contract?

The departure of Danny swanson on a free, after being offered a last minute contract, wasn’t a big deal for me. Although at times Danny could pull of something special, most of the season, a lot like his whole Peterborough career, he was more of a let down and seemed a bit of an average squad player. Maybe at a team like Coventry, where Danny might play a key role in midfield, he will thrive and grow into the player at times he’s shown glimpses of being.

Jon Taylor has scored 9 goals from the wing for Shrewsbury. Is this an exciting signing?

All I’ve heard about Taylor, and his goal scoring record from the wing last season, would excite anyone. But, with posh favoring the diamond formation the past few seasons, I do wonder where he will fit in unless he plays as a more attacking central player. Of course Ferguson could be about to surprise us all and play wingers, which is something i would welcome. The diamond in the last season or two has created boring football, and left us with problems at the back.

Peterborough only drew 5 games last season, which suggests a very attacking mentality. Is the team ever guilty of neglecting defensive duties?

Past seasons, Peterborough have been guilty of adopting the ‘we’ll score more than you’ mentality, while they could have been guilty of forgetting about the defence and concentrating on just attacking football. Last season, while it seems the management team looked more at sorting the defence, bringing in players like Baldwin.

With most bookmakers, Peterborough are at around 11/4 for promotion. Where will you finish?

My prediction for the up and coming season is a good one. I have a good feeling about this year, although I feel maybe one or two more signings would help. I predict promotion, maybe second place or another day at Wembley in the playoffs. After all, we’ve never lost at Wembley.

TFL Verdict

Despite keeping Assombalonga, Posh have weakened their squad and would do well to stay in the promotion mix. 7th

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