The EFL Cup first round provides a quick break from League action and it’s probably a welcome relief for the Rs after losing both their opening matches of the season.
After an opening day one-nil defeat at Preston North End, which featured the debut of former Posh left-back Andrew Hughes, they started life at home against Sheffield United. Despite going ahead midway through the first half, two goals in either half won the match for the Blades.
Life at Loftus Road hasn’t started well for ex-England manager Steve McLaren who is now the manager following the departure of Ian Holloway at the end of last season. He could make a few changes to the starting line-up for the clash against Posh but one man hoping to start his first match of the season is former Posh forward Conor Washington. Washington has been rather a flop since his £2.5 million move from the ABAX Stadium in 2016, there again, no strikers have really staked a claim for a regular spot in the front line which is something Washington confirmed leading up to this match with Posh: “I don’t think that anyone’s position is safe right now, the manager has made that clear. Until a striker takes things by the scruff of the neck and starts scoring goals, I think that’ll continue to be the case.”
The results for Posh have been the total opposite of the Rs with two wins out of two. With the number of players leaving and arriving during the summer, we were fully expecting a slow start to the season while the players start to gel and understand the tactics of boss Steve Evans. To get two victories in the opening two matches while scoring six goals is an impressive start to the season but the challenge of the EFL Cup and a trip to a Championship side is a completely different ball game.
How will Posh get on with the challenge? Will any of the players freeze or give the opposition too much respect simply because they are in a higher League?
Posh are expected to make two or three changes to the starting line-up with new striker Ivan Toney expected to make his full debut but, based on the performances of the opening matches, Posh should be able to compete with their lofty hosts. One thing we should expect is the hosts to have the majority of the possession, just like both the League matches so far. On Saturday, Posh only had 38% of the possession but they still ran out 4-1 winners!
If Posh can produce the defensive performance they’ve shown so far, then they could cause an upset and provide McLaren with a third successive defeat. There again, Posh started last season with identical results as this season and then suffered a very disappointing defeat against League Two side Barnet in the first round of the EFL Cup.