Today, in one of our final previews, we have Peterborough United fan Christopher Sharpe (Twitter: @StAlbansMassif) who has been a Posh fan since 1972.
Sum up last season : Utter frustration. A slow start by losing our first three games before getting in our stride and scoring seemingly for fun. By mid-November with 33 goals between them, our front 3 of Mo Eisa, Ivan Toney and Marcus Maddison had outscored every other English team, except Man City with 35 goals. We then went into reverse with some woeful performances. It became clear that Maddison (who was out of contract at the end of the season) wanted away. He could not have looked less interested and suddenly became unfit to play hours before the matches he was due to start. His wish was granted and he went on loan to Hull City. In the transfer window we invested in the midfield by signing Jack Taylor (Barnet) permanently and also added Reece Brown (Huddersfield) and Sammie Szmodics (Bristol City) on loans. Their collective impact was almost immediate. When the rug was pulled on last season we had collected 22 out of the last available 27 points through convincing wins over prestigious opposition which had given Posh a stellar trajectory. Once the debacle of ending last season was settled and an average points per game applied we dropped out of the play offs and our season was over. We felt robbed. We were robbed.
What has the transfer business been like this summer? : Outstanding. Given the incredible season Ivan Toney had with 26 goals in all competitions, L1 Golden boot and L1 Player of the year it came as no surprise he would go to a higher division with Brentford gaining his services for £10m (half up front with the rest through add-ons etc). We have signed six permanently – Dan Gyollai (Stoke), Ronnie Edwards (Barnet), Ethan Hamilton (Man Utd), Ryan Broom (Cheltenham), Jonson Clarke-Harris (Bristol Rovers), Sammie Szmodics (Bristol City) and one loan – Reece Brown (Huddersfield). With the acquisitions of Reece Brown and Sam Szmodics we’ve got the band back together! Having made some astute signings securing Brown and Szmodics the expectation for the season ahead has been ignited.
How has pre-season been this summer? : Long. Our youth players who are stepping up into the 1st team started pre-season at the start of July. The full squad commenced training 2 weeks later. We normally go away for a week to Spain or Portugal but this year we went to the England camp St Georges. We’ve enjoyed some good wins against teams from lower divisions and lost by one goal to Championship sides Derby and Coventry.
Which players are looking like they’ll stand out this season? : These may be obvious suggestions but a full season of Sammie Szmodics promises good things, Siriki Dembele will have improved again and will scare defences silly. Ricky-Jade Jones broke through into the 1st team from our youth team last season. This year I believe he will shine. He is ‘F’ fast, finds the back of the net and knows how we play.
Any players likely to explode onto the scene from nowhere? : Yes. We have a wealth of talent coming through from our youth team. Picking out just a few I’d suggest Flynn Clarke, and Harrison Burrows. I’ll also draw to your attention Idris Kanu and Serhat Tasdemir.
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Which matches are you most looking forward to this season? : A game against our arch rivals the Cobblers is always welcome, with our other near neighbours of Lincoln and MK Dons also provide interest. However, as away days go from an enjoyment perspective (the pre-match entertainment of the pubs) Shrewsbury and certainly Rochdale are firm favourites with Posh.
What can teams expect from you this season? : Relentless attack. Resolve. Resolute defence. We have unfinished business with League 1 after the shambles of last season’s closure. This is not just my view; it is also shared by our owners, management, staff, players and fans. More than ever we are United on this.
Where do you think you’ll finish? : Automatics. More than any other season I seriously believe we have never had more determination.