D3D4 Peterborough Correspondent Ian McFarlane look tentatively ahead to the Posh’s new season…
It’s been a pre-season of change to put it mildly at the ABAX. Many favourites have headed out the exit door, with many others also transfer listed in an immense cost-cutting cull. A lot of the chosen replacements are currently what you would describe as unknown quantities.
It will have to be a ‘wait and see’, venture to decipher whether some of the current non-league performers will cut it in the big time, we have been here before I would like to add. Can Ricky Miller emulate his success at Dover within the Conference, within the League 1 dynamic, I certainly hope so.
The most change seems to be within the rear-guard, with the likes of Bostwick heading to Lincoln and Michael Smith receiving a lucrative move to the SPL with Hearts, that could start up his International aspirations. Right back Liam Shephard has been brought in from Swansea, as well as centre-back Alex Penny through a Jamie Vardy ‘rags to riches’, academy initiative. Negativity courses through my veins on whether they can fill the massive void left by said departures.
Changes between the posts as well, Luke McGee’s loan period over, Mark Tyler retiring, Posh brought in 18 year old Josh Tibbets from the Birmingham City Under 18’s. McCann obviously realised he needed experience within this position, hence why Jonathan Bond has come from Reading on a loan spell until January.
Centre Forward Jack Marriott coming in from Luton Town is a player I am particularly looking forward to seeing at London Road this season. However this can’t dispel my anger at offloading the dynamic and vastly under-rated Tom Nichols. At least some fans can vent their venom at another great talent instead, probably Marriott if he commits the crime of not receiving enough service.
I don’t know with all these changes that I can even draw many if any parallels from last season to what to expect this season.
I feel the overall strength of the division, with the standard of the sides coming down from the Championship and the ambition and size of the teams promoted from League 2, as well as the strength already within the division, this season will house some immense entertainment. Probably even more than last season.
Looking at the strength last term, I was more than happy with a mid-table finish. Saying this I come from a generation of Posh supporters where this would be seen as more than acceptable.
Some impressive results were gathered last season, and yes some poor ones as well. This was, however achieved with a stronger squad than we will be starting the 2017/18 season with.
On August 5th, at the ABAX against Plymouth Argyle (one of the aforementioned big hitters promoted last season) more will become clear. Whether it be for the good or the bad it will be a very early indication.
Can bringing non-league defenders to bolster a previously strong backline be advantageous or will Aaron Hughes and Ryan Tafazolli be carrying the burden of carrying the whole defence.
As much as I have more questions than answers at this current time, answers will start to come to the forefront in which I will be reporting on very intricately throughout the season.
With chronic season ticket sales estimated, along with owner Darragh MacAnthony’s urgency to offload the big earners. Despite the reasoning of why they are the high earners, this all goes to pinpoint a stab at the play offs is nigh on an impossibility.
With the clouds of uncertainty moving over London Road, I have a horrible gut-feeling of a relegation battle is more probable. My overall prediction at the, ‘before a ball is kicked’, stage. We can and will survive, 16th place I believe.
Words Ian McFarlane