Peterborough United’s winless run in the Championship extended to six matches on Saturday as they were held to a goalless draw by fellow strugglers Barnsley.
Darren Ferguson’s side had looked like they might have turned a corner towards the end of October as they secured much-needed back-to-back wins against Hull City and QPR to move out of the bottom three. However, they have since failed to build on that and they are now back in the relegation zone and at the moment they are four points adrift of safety.
The festive period is going to be crucial for Peterborough and they have to get back to winning ways as soon as possible to avoid getting cut adrift from the teams above them in the table.
Hull have just won four matches in a row from a starting position of inside the bottom three, so there is hope for Ferguson’s side but they have a lot of issues to address before they can improve their form.
With that in mind, we take a look at TWO dilemmas that Ferguson is currently facing at Peterborough as December looms…
Peterborough’s lack of attacking output
During Peterborough’s recent run of six matches without a win in the Championship, they have managed to find the net just once. That goal came through Jonson Clarke-Harris’ late header in the 1-1 draw with Huddersfield Town, which was just the forward’s third league goal of the campaign. Clearly getting him back scoring again is going to be vital for Ferguson’s side but they must also not rely solely on him.
Peterborough have the worst defensive record in the league so far this season in the Championship with them having shipped 38 goals in their opening 20 matches.
That means that there is a lot of pressure placed on their attacking players to score enough goals to keep them in matches, but at the moment the goals drying up over the last six games will have to be a major concern for them.
Against Barnsley on Saturday, Peterborough had 12 attempts on goal but just two of those were on target. Ferguson has to find a way of getting more out of his most creative players and with the likes of Siriki Dembele and Clarke-Harris in the side, it should not be too difficult for them to start scoring more frequently again in the final third.
However, considering Peterborough’s poor defensive record the game against Barnsley has to be seen as a major missed chance to put a win on the board because their defence was able to keep a clean sheet in that one.
How to avoid getting cut adrift
Peterborough now find themselves four points adrift of safety ahead of the festive period. Reading are now the team that are sat just above the bottom three. The major concern will be that the Royals have shown earlier in the campaign that they can go on good runs of form and they are only sat that far down the table thanks to a points deduction.
Other sides around Peterborough are starting to hit some form, Hull have just won four matches on the bounce and are suddenly now five points clear of Posh. While Cardiff City’s form has picked up since Steve Morrison took over from Mick McCarthy and the Bluebirds look like they are capable of sustaining their improved form in the festive period.
Considering all of that, Peterborough’s six-match winless run has come at the worst possible time. They have to start picking up wins on a more regular basis now if they have any chance of keeping in touch with the sides above them.
Were Peterborough to lose any more ground on the teams around them over the festive period then it would be looking very challenging for them to try and survive the drop in the second half of the campaign. So, at the moment it is a major dilemma for Ferguson and one that he needs to try and work out as soon as possible.