Just like the rest of the positions, the midfield area could have a completely new look when Posh kick-off the new season at home to Bristol Rovers on Saturday. Excluding the four players still on the transfer list, there are just two players remaining from last season – George Cooper and Joe Ward!
Woodyard is the new Posh captain taking over from central defender Jack Baldwin who has subsequently been sold to League One rivals Sunderland. The 25-year-old spent two seasons at Lincoln City helping them back into the Football League during his first season and being an ever present for them last season.
He nearly helped them to back-to-back promotions as they made it to the play-offs but fell at the first hurdle losing 3-1 on aggregate to Exeter City. Woodyard has never played as high as League One having spent all his career in League Two or the non-league.
His performances in pre-season have shown him to be a player who likes to be on the ball but at times this has resulted in players reluctant to do anything but pass the ball to him even if there are better, more dangerous options!
Reed completed a three-year deal after an undisclosed fee was agreed with Championship side Sheffield United. The 21-year-old was transfer listed by the Blades at the end of last season, a season in which he spent playing on loan all season at League Two side Chesterfield. The Spireites were relegated out of the Football League having finished bottom but it did give Reed valuable playing time as he made over 40 appearances scoring four goals. He was also named the Spireites Player of the Season.
The midfielder has played in League One before making almost 40 appearances for the Blades since his League debut against Rotherham United when he was just 16 years old! That made him the youngest person to play for the Blades.
Reed, who turned 21 last week, had a quiet match against Bolton Wanderers last weekend but much more will be expected of him during the League One campaign and it will be interesting to see how he progresses.
King is one of three players brought into the club on loan. He has signed an initial six-month loan deal from parent club Swansea City but will miss the League opener as he is currently out with an injury. The 22-year-old will also act as cover for the right-back position when fit.
We’ve yet to see King play for Posh so we can’t comment on what he can bring to the table but going on comments on Twitter from fans at his former loanee clubs Mansfield Town and Southend United, King maybe only a squad player as he didn’t impress during his time there. However, King was signed by current Posh boss Steve Evans when he was at the Stags and he said to the Official Posh website: “Everyone who takes the opportunity to look at the stats will see that when Adam played, Mansfield won, we certainly didn’t lose.”
O’Hara, a former Scotland Under 19 and 21 International, played 71 times for previous club Dundee during the last two seasons having signed from Kilmarnock in 2016. He has 12 goals to his name at Dundee with four of those goals coming last season. O’Hara made his professional debut for the Killie at just 16 but was a right-back until he was converted to a midfielder at Dundee.
Although he is just 22-years-old, he has made over 100 appearances in the Scottish Premiership so he brings good experience with him. Posh boss Steve Evans spoke to the official Posh website about the signing of O’Hara saying: “He is an exciting, full of energy, box to box central midfield player who can score a goal by arriving into the box with some wonderfully timed runs.”
We saw some of those runs on Saturday when he was a second-half substitute and if he can get on the end of any attacking pieces, then we could see central midfielder picking up goals on a regular basis.
Cooke is the latest recruit to the new look Posh squad having only signed on Monday but he has already played his first match. That came last night in the Maunsel Cup Final against Kettering Town.
He is another player who likes to get forward but hopefully he can improve on his goalscoring record which reads two goals in 30 appearances for Blackpool last season and four goals in 18 appearances for Crewe Alexandra the season before. It will be interesting to see how Cooke fits in as he was at his previous club, Middlesbrough, since the age of 9!
Ward is just one of two midfielders remaining at the club from last season and who is still involved in the first team. He played 17 times for Posh last season after being snapped up from Woking in January following some impressive performances.
Two of those performances came against Posh in the FA Cup which needed a replay for Posh to progress but Ward showed enough potential during those games to catch the eye of the Posh management and owner.
With his first pre-season under his belt, we are expecting big things from Ward and although he has got serious competition for a place on the wing, we expect to see him featuring regularly for Posh this season.
Cooper is the other midfielder remaining from last season and like Ward, he also signed for the club in January. He was widely expected to be the natural replacement for Marcus Maddison and showed glimpses of the skill that caught the eye of Posh.
For some unknown reason, after signing for Posh, the then manager Grant McCann failed to pick him and it was only when new boss Steve Evans took over that the 21-year-old started to see more of the action. He went on to make 13 appearances for the club last season but he should be a regular this season.
Dembele is a real livewire with a bag full of tricks. He has already shown in pre-season that he can cause havoc to the opposition, he can score goals and he also tracks back to defend.
He was signed from Grimsby Town for an undisclosed fee and although a number of Grimsby fans had a pop at the youngster for running out of steam at Christmas, you have to consider that last season was his first ever season in the Football League and will only get better.
Even if he does run out of steam, Posh do have what appears to be a better depth to the squad and can cope with his absence for a while. Evans may choose to do this anyway during the season to ensure Dembele and anyone else doesn’t run out of steam.
Buckley-Ricketts is highly regarded by his former club Manchester City and England, for whom he won the Under 19 UEFA European Championship in 2017. He is a rookie in the Football League though even with the experience he picked up last season.
He started the season at Dutch side FC Twente and then went to League One side Oxford United in January. It’s fair to say his loan at Oxford was less than successful although it sounds similar to the time we had Danny Rose on loan. Rose was absolute garbage giving the impression he was too good to be playing on loan at Posh. Look where he is now…playing regularly for a top Premier League side and also featuring for England! Let’s hope something clicks while Buckley-Ricketts is with Posh and he can end up playing for the senior England side in the future.