BlogLet's talk about...Peterborough United

Let’s talk about…Peterborough United

Swansea come into Wednesday’s game on the back of two successive defeats. Following the loss to Fulham, Russell Martin’s side failed to capitalise on their 77% possession as they lost 1-0 to newly-promoted Blackpool.

Next up is a trip to fellow newly-promoted Peterborough, who have struggled since making their return to the second tier. They find themselves bottom of the table, seven points off safety albeit with a game in hand.

Their January Transfer Window

First team signings

Keen to bolster their squad, Peterborough made six senior signings in January, five of which were loan deals.

Their first and only permanent move saw Jeandro Fuchs arrive from Dundee United. The Cameroonian midfielder has played two international games since 2018. He has featured in eight Championship games since his arrival.

The first of Peterborough’s five loans was Bali Mumba who joined from Norwich. The 20-year-old English right-back has also played eight league games since making the switch.

Five days later, a familiar face made the switch to Posh. With Swansea’s signing of Andy Fisher, Steven Benda departed on loan to Peterborough. The German sweeper-keeper has made a good impression for his new side and will be sorely missed for Peterborough as he is ineligible to face Swansea this week.

Posh’s third loan deal saw Callum Morton arrive from fellow Championship side West Bromwich Albion. After seven goalless appearances, predominantly off the bench, Morton has not been included in their last two matchday squads.

They added two more loanees from Championship clubs on deadline day. Reece Brown arrived from Huddersfield before Hayden Coulson joined from Middlesbrough. Both have made six appearances but have been left out of the last two squads.

Notable first team outgoings

Peterborough only lost one senior player in January. Unfortunately for them, it was Siriki Dembele. The highly-rated forward departed for promotion-chasing Bournemouth as Posh’s top scorer, albeit with just five goals in 24 games. He played against his former side earlier this month, playing 87 minutes in their 1-1 draw.

Their Captain

Mark Beevers has been a regular at Peterborough since his arrival in 2019.

He started his career at Sheffield Wednesday, playing for the club in the Championship and League One in a seven-year spell. He also enjoyed loan spells at MK Dons and Millwall, before joining the latter on a permanent deal midway through the 2012-13 campaign.

He made 35 Championship appearances in his first season at Millwall, before playing in 28 games in his first full season. In 2014-15, Millwall were relegated to League One, with Beevers featuring in 25 games, scoring twice.

He was an integral part of their side that reached the playoffs at the first time of asking, although they lost to Barnsley in the final. This proved to be his final year at the club. He remained in League One, joining Bolton Wanderers in 2016.

In his first season at Bolton, the northern side were promoted to the Championship as runners up. He remained at the club for two more seasons, before joining his current club in 2019.

He made 32 league appearances for Peterborough in 2019-20. Last season, he missed just one game as the side won promotion to the Championship, finishing second in League One for the second time in his career.

Their Top Scorer

Following Dembele’s departure, Jonson Clarke-Harris has overtaken him as their top-scorer. The 27-year-old striker began his career at Coventry, becoming their youngest player ever when he made a cup appearance aged 16. He followed this with a brief first spell at Peterborough. However, he failed to make a league appearance for either side, instead joining Southend and Bury on loan in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

His four goals in 12 games for Bury earnt him a permanent move to Oldham Athletic, where he scored seven in his single season. This impressed Rotherham, who signed him for a club-record £350,000.

However, he struggled to find form up-front for Rotherham, scoring just nine in 71 games in his four-year spell. This run was broken up by three loan spells at MK Dons, Doncaster and a return to Coventry. He scored three in 17 games for the latter, helping them achieve promotion to League One via the playoffs, before re-joining them on a permanent deal in 2018.

Six months after joining Coventry for a third time, Clarke-Harris moved to Bristol Rovers. He spent 18 months at The Memorial Stadium, scoring an impressive 24 in 42 League One outings.

With one year left on his deal, Clarke-Harris returned to Peterborough in the summer of 2020. He took League One by storm, winning the Golden Boot with 31 goals. His heroics in front of goal secured automatic promotion for Peterborough.

Clarke-Harris has scored seven league goals so far this season.

Their manager

Following Darren Ferguson’s sacking, Peterborough re-appointed Grant McCann on 24th February. McCann started the season at Hull City but was sacked in January following a board takeover. The 41-year-old former midfielder spent most of his 16-year playing career in the EFL, also boasting 39 Northern Ireland caps to his name.

He began his playing career at West Ham United but spent much of his time out on loan. He made four Premier League substitute appearances between 2000-2002 but was given his first taste of regular football while on loan at Cheltenham Town for the 2000-01 season. After making limited appearances while at Livingston and Notts County, McCann played 30 times in League Two.

He impressed at Cheltenham, completing a permanent move during the January transfer window in 2003. There, he played 155 league games in League One and Two, scoring 31 goals. He departed the club to join Barnsley on loan in November 2006, before completing a permanent move in January 2007. He remained at the club for just one year, before joining Scunthorpe United for an undisclosed fee.

Scunthorpe were relegated from the Championship during McCann’s first season at the club. The following campaign, he scored 9 goals in 43 League One outings as the club were promoted back to the Championship at the first time of asking, finishing sixth. He then made 42 Championship appearances in the 2009-10 season, scoring eight goals.

Despite avoiding relegation, McCann left in May 2010 to join Peterborough United, who were playing in League One at the time. He was named captain shortly after arriving. He enjoyed yet another promotion in his first season with the club, scoring nine in 38 games as Peterborough won the play-offs. He remained a regular at the club for three more seasons, featuring in a total of 81 Championship games in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. After their relegation in 2013, he played 41 League One games across a two-year span.

After five years at Peterborough, McCann left in January 2015 to join Linfield in his native Northern Ireland. However, he would spend just six weeks at the club, making six appearances, before returning to Peterborough. For around two weeks in September 2015, McCann served as caretaker manager at the club.

He was given his first permanent managerial role in May 2016, taking the Peterborough job following Graham Westley’s departure. McCann had worked as assistant manager under Westley prior to his sacking. There, he managed over 100 games, but was sacked in February 2018 after a poor run of form.

McCann made a swift return to management, taking over at Doncaster Rovers in June 2018. Under his tutelage, they finished sixth in League One, meeting Charlton Athletic in the play-off semi-finals. They lost the first leg 2-1 but won the second leg 3-2. This led to a penalty shootout, which Charlton won 4-3.

He left the club soon after, taking the Hull City job. At the time, the club were in the Championship. They started the season with a 2-1 defeat to Swansea in Steve Cooper’s first game in charge. On the 1st of January, a win over Sheffield Wednesday saw Hull rise to eighth in the table. However, the situation went rapidly downhill following that victory.

They closed January with four successive defeats, before selling star men Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki on deadline day. In their final 20 league games, Hull won just once, drawing three times, and losing the other 16 games. This included a humiliating 8-0 loss to Wigan. A final day defeat to Cardiff City condemned Hull to a 24th-place finish, despite being in the top half midway through the season.

After their capitulation, Hull City immediately bounced back last season. They finished top of the table, two points clear of second-place Peterborough United and nine above the play-off places. McCann was sacked earlier this year with the club in 19th place, 10 points above the drop-zone.

Since making his return to Peterborough, McCann has picked up two points from four games. He began his tenure with a 3-0 loss at home to former club Hull City before losing by the same score at playoff-chasing Huddersfield. However, their results have improved in recent weeks. They secured a surprise point at Bournemouth before drawing 2-2 at home to Stoke City last weekend.

Previous Meeting

The two sides last met on 30th October 2021 at the Stadium. Peterborough came into the game looking for three successive wins after beating Hull and QPR, while Swansea looked to bounce back after suffering defeat at Birmingham.

However, Swansea were the better side as they comfortably beat Peterborough in South Wales. They opened the scoring in the second minute through Jake Bidwell. After starting with possession from the kick-off, Swansea carved their way through Peterborough before Ethan Laird’s cross found Bidwell who slotted home from close range. Peterborough’s first touch of the ball came from the resulting kick-off.

Joel Piroe made it 2-0 in the 13th minute, beating former Swans keeper David Cornell before Olivier Ntcham made it 3-0 just before half time. Swansea remained on top for the second half but failed to add to their lead. They secured all three points without really breaking a sweat, controlling the entire game.

Final score – Swansea City 3-0 Peterborough United

Match Preview

After last weekend’s disappointment, Swansea must focus on returning ton winning ways when they face the league’s bottom club. The hosts will be without Benda in goal, meaning ex-Swan Cornell will likely to return to the starting eleven.

Swansea handed debuts to January signing Nathanael Ogbeta and youth prospect Cameron Congreve in the defeat. The former could start at left wing-back should Swansea revert to a back five. Meanwhile, Ryan Manning remains suspended following his straight red card against Fulham.

Expect a cagey game with neither side in their best form. While Swansea look safe from relegation and are adrift of the play-offs, a win here is essential to gain some confidence.

After the trip to Peterborough, Swansea are back at home on the weekend. They welcome Birmingham to the Stadium before facing a trip to Cardiff the following weekend.

Matt Williams
My name is Matt Williams. I am a 24-year-old journalism graduate and aspiring sports journalist from South Wales. I am a fan of Swansea City, and regularly write about the team on my own personal blog. I also support the Carolina Panthers, and I am an avid follower of the Welsh national teams in football and rugby.

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