Peterborough were the surprise packages last Saturday after defeating league leaders – and previously unbeaten at home – Cardiff at the New Cardiff City Stadium. It was a performance which will have boosted what seemed flagging hopes of surviving another year in the Championship. Darren Ferguson alluded to the fact that they have now beaten two of the best sides in the division, having previously defeated Hull on the road earlier in the season, and has challenged his players to achieve the consistency required to climb the table. Despite lasts week surprise win they remain bottom of the table, just two points off safety but with the worse home record in the league. They have lost their last four games at London Road, conceding 13 goals in the process. They have faced several good sides of late but they have to stop the rot sooner rather than later and all concerned with Peterborough will be hoping that the confidence gained from last weekend’s win can stand them in good stead tomorrow.
Bolton were my tips for promotion (and the league title) before a ball was kicked this season and it still remains a massive surprise to see how much they have struggle to get a consistency about their game. They sit just below mid-table and have won just seven of their 22 games played this season. When you consider the squad of players that Owen Coyle, and now Dougie Freedman, have had at their disposal, it has to go down as a huge underachievement. In recent weeks there have been signs of improvement with victories over Blackburn and Charlton but they have failed to hold leads against Huddersfield and Ipswich, costing them five points in the process. Due to how tight the Championship is this season, those two failures are the difference between Bolton sitting in 7th compared to their current position.
As mentioned when previewing Peterborough’s match against Middlesbrough, the key to their fortunes are George Boyd and Lee Tomlin. Both attackers have quality about their play and will be instrumental throughout the rest of the season. Ferguson will take solace from the fact that they have scored in each of their last six home games, against the likes of Palace, ‘Boro and Blackpool, so they know will be confident of doing so again, they challenge for them is to somehow try and keep the opposition out.
Having been a striker himself, Freedman will be disappointed with the goals return from his attackers as nobody in the squad have reached double figures yet. It’s an area which he may look to improve upon in the January transfer window but he has to make do with what he’s got currently. The onus has been on the likes of Kevin Davies and Chris Eagles, both proven Premier League players, and to their credit they have performed. They do require assistance from others in the team if they harbour any hopes of challenging for a play-off position.
Despite Peterborough’s win last weekend I still believe they will fall short of survival and feel that Bolton are capable of dealing another blow to Ferguson and his players.
Bolton 11/10 @ Totesport