Match Zone

Time To Step Up To The Plate

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It’s matchday three in Sky Bet League One with Peterborough United entertaining Luton Town at the ABAX Stadium.

Posh have opened their League campaign with two victories; a two-one opening day win against Bristol Rovers and then a 4-1 thumping of Rochdale. Boss Steve Evans named the same starting eleven for both those matches but tweaked it a bit for the midweek Carabao Cup defeat at Championship side QPR.

Those tweaks, to put it bluntly, failed miserably! Leeds United loanee Tyler Denton made his full debut for Posh at left-back and after putting in decent displays in pre-season again teams four or five Leagues below Posh, this challenge looked way too much for him with some fans even calling for him to be sent back to his parent club!

Callum Cooke also made his full debut after making cameo appearances in the opening two matches and while he looked decent in those matches, he didn’t have the same effect in this match and was substituted at half-time for tactical reasons as Evans brought on a second striker.

The third debutant in that Cup match was new forward Ivan Toney who looks like he could be a good alternative to Matty Godden and Jason Cummings but he lacked match fitness. The Cup match was ideal to get minutes into his legs but he will surely find himself back on the bench for Hatters clash.

We’re expecting those debutants to find themselves back on the bench but from Evans’ pre-match interview with the official Posh website, it sounds as though he won’t be able to name the same starting line-up for the third consecutive League match.

Midfielders Siriki Dembele and top scorer Mark O’Hara failed to train on Thursday due to injury and are a major doubt for the match on Saturday.

Dembele, a summer capture from Grimsby Town, has been a livewire since arriving at the club. The winger was originally identified as someone who could be turned into a forward but has been so much more effective in his more natural position. He has, so far, taken over the “assist-king” tag from Marcus Maddison as he assisted on three of the four goals last weekend at Rochdale although one of those assists could change to a goal for the 21-year-old. His freekick appeared to cross the line before the keeper clawed the ball out only to see Godden tap in the rebound.

While Dembele has been very effective on the wing, fellow midfielder Mark O’Hara has had an equally positive impact since his arrival from Scottish Premiership side Dundee.

The 6-foot 4-inch midfielder is very attack-minded and he showed that to a positive effect on the opening day of the season when he got on the end of a cross from Dembele to power a header from the edge of the penalty area for the winner over Rovers. He went one better in the match against Dale striking twice. The first was another header with the second a break-away goal in the dying minutes.

With both Dembele and O’Hara potentially missing from the Posh squad on Saturday, it is definitely time for the other players to step up to the plate.

On the next page, we look at the potential options available to Evans and who is likely to take the place of Dembele and O’Hara if they are unavailable for the match.

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