Meet Town's opposition: Posh are lethal at home, even without fans

Jonson Clarke-Harris, who left Bristol Rovers to sign for Peterborough in a deal worth about �1.25mi

Jonson Clarke-Harris, who tops the League One charts with 12 goals for Peterborough United this season. Picture: PA - Credit: PA

Peterborough United are a daunting prospect for any opposition at London Road, even behind closed doors.

Posh have scored more goals (20) than any other League One club on home turf, from just eight outings, spearheaded by the flood of goals from prolific marksman Jonson Clarke-Harris.

The Cambridgeshire club will be back playing in front of no supporters this weekend, after Peterborough moved from Tier 2 to Tier 3 following the government's latest announcement concerning Covid-19 restrictions today, much to the future of the club owner and chairman, Darragh MacAnthony. The new tier rules come into effect from Saturday.

But that won't make it any easier for promotion rivals Ipswich Town.

HOME COMFORTS
Only one team has so far escaped from London Road with all three points this term.

Blackpool managed it thanks to Gary Madine's last-gasp winner in a 2-1 away win last month, while lowly Burton Albion earned a point from a 2-2 draw in October.

But otherwise, all visitors have left London Road short-changed, with Posh wins over Fleetwood (2-1), Swindon (3-1), Oxford (2-0), Shrewsbury (5-1) and Plymouth (1-0), plus last weekend's 4-1 thrashing of Rochdale.

Although Ipswich (21 points from 10 games at Portman Road) and Doncaster Rovers (20 points from nine at the Keepmoat Stadium) have accumulated more points than Posh on home turf, Darren Ferguson's men have totalled 19 from a mere eight games.

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It's just a shame that, once again, Posh will be playing behind closed doors for the visit of Town, and also the visit of Doncaster on Boxing Day.

Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson during the FA Cup second round match at the Weston Homes

Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson. Picture: PA - Credit: PA

THE BOSS

Darren Ferguson, who is enjoying his third stint as Peterborough United boss, is looking for another home win, to set up his side for a busy festive period, although he knows that Town will be awkward opponents.

"If we win on Saturday we would have had a good week. We would be in great shape for the Christmas games," enthused Ferguson, who has presided over more than 450 matches as Posh manager, in those three separate stays.

- Peterborough chairman furious over new Tier 3 measure

“Ipswich have had many injuries, but they still have some strong, experienced players in their side.

“They’ve been playing Ollie Hawkins and Kayden Jackson up front recently and they are a handful for a start.

"They’ve had a tough run like we did, but they won on Tuesday night (2-1 against Burton Albion) so it’s going to be another competitive game in what was always going to be a very tough and tight league.

After this weekend, and then a Boxing Day trip to Gillingham, ambitious Posh, who are two points ahead of Town but on the same number of points, face big showdowns against seventh-placed Charlton, sixth-placed Doncaster and fourth-placed Lincoln over the next few weeks.

Sammie Szmodics has found game time at Bristol City limited since making a �750k switch from Colches

Peterborough United attacking midfielder Sammie Szmodics, pictured during his time at Colchester United. Picture: STEVE WALLER  - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

POSH TEAM NEWS

Experienced defender Nathan Thompson is set to return after missing the midweek 1-1 draw at MK Dons due to  injury. Thompson netted the fourth against Rochdale last weekend.

Ferguson was not happy with the display of attacker Siriki Dembele at MK Dons, so the Ivory Coast-born 24-year-old could be left out against Town.

However, Dembele has been in good form this season, with six goals to his name, and the chances are he could still start alongside ex-Colchester United attacking midfielder Sammie Szmodics, with both operating just behind centre forward Clarke-Harris

Szmodics was only used as a second-half substitute at MK Dons, but he has had joy against Ipswich in the past, netting a brace in a 4-1 win at Portman Road last February while on loan at Posh from Bristol City.

The 25-year-old signed a four-year deal for a fee believed to be in the region of £1 million in September. He played 162 senior games for his first club Colchester, having joined them from the age of seven.

RED HOT STRIKER

Jonson Clark-Harris is not only Peterborough's leading goalscorer, with 12 goals from 19 games, but he also tops the League One charts.

He leapfrogged AFC Wimbledon's Joe Piggot (10 goals) and Doncaster's John Marquis (nine) with his swift hat-trick against Rochdale last weekend.

The 26-year-old netted his three goals inside a 17-minute spell early in the game.

Tommy Smith is sent off at Peterborough after coming on as a sub, seconds before, during the 7-1 def

Tommy Smith is sent off at Peterborough after coming on as a substitute during Ipswich Town's 7-1 defeat during the first month of the 2011-12 season.

PREVIOUS MEETINGS

Town have not won any of their last five meetings with Peterborough, stretching back to March, 2012, when goals from Grant Leadbitter, Daryl Murphy and Aaron Cresswell (85th minute winner) secured a 3-2 home win.

Earlier in that season, Paul Jewell's Town were thrashed 7-1 at London Road in August, 2011, ending the match with just nine men following red cards for Lee Martin and Tommy Smith.

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