Ferguson fuming at Posh's "shocking" start
Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson has been "stunned" by his side's shocking start to the new season and has told his players to "toughen up quickly".
Posh performed dismally when losing 3-0 at Luton in the first game of the Championship campaign on Saturday and, despite making seven changes to the starting line-up, United were even worse as they suffered a 4-0 home defeat in the first round of the EFL Cup at the hands of League One outfit Plymouth on Tuesday evening.
Speaking in midweek, Ferguson said: "We've been far too soft. I didn't expect to start the season like this and tonight (Tuesday) we got spanked. We were embarrassing, we never got started. We never managed to play with any tempo. I'm very concerned by the manner of the performances in both matches. I'm not happy and I've told the players just that."
Peterborough will need to assess the fitness of striker Jonson Clarke-Harris, who surprisingly played 90 minutes against Luton last weekend after seeing just 45 minutes of action in pre-season. Elsewhere, fellow forward and new signing Jack Marriott is also rated doubtful but Sammie Szmodics, Nathan Thompson and Mark Beevers will return to the squad.
Rooney proud of his Derby players
Derby supremo Wayne Rooney described the Rams' progression in the EFL Cup first round against Salford as his "proudest moment in management".
County fielded a young and inexperienced team at Pride Park, with seven of the 10 outfield players 21 or under, with the average age of the team being just 22. Nevertheless, Derby battled back from 2-0 and 3-2 down to draw 3-3 against their League Two opponents before winning a penalty shoot-out 5-3.
Rooney will now recall his more experienced players with captain Tom Lawrence joining the likes of experienced pair Colin Kazim-Richards and Graeme Shinnie back in the starting XI for Saturday. The trio all played their part in last weekend's deserved 1-1 draw against COVID-hit Huddersfield with youngsters filling the bench due to the Rams' off-field issues.
Posh expecting a response
Peterborough and Derby haven't been regular competitors down the years - the duo have met just 10 times during league action over the past 30 years - although Posh can boast a reasonable home record when taking on the Rams. The hosts have returned W3-D1-L1 when welcoming County to London Road, winning each of the most recent two renewals.
Peterborough 2.226/5 have endured a difficult start to 2021/22. Posh fans will point to last season's poor opening encounters for hope and Darren Ferguson is still waiting for key players to return from injury, new arrivals to strengthen weakened areas of the pitch and bodies to help bulk up a threadbare squad. However, a response is expected on Saturday.
Derby 3.45 defied pre-season predictions of doom to avoid defeat in their Championship curtain-raiser last weekend yet the Rams offered little against a Huddersfield squad hit by COVID. County generated just 0.38 Expected Goals (xG) at Pride Park in their opener and Wayne Rooney's stretched resources make a major overhaul nigh-on impossible.
Goals on the agenda
Ten (83%) of the opening 12 Championship contests featured winning Both Teams To Score selections and backing a repeat in Saturday's curtain-raiser at 1.855/6 appeals considering the turmoil in both camps. The two teams have collectively conceded 11 goals across their combined four fixtures over the past week, highlighting their defensive concerns.
On paper, both Posh and Derby's key assets are found in forward areas, and with the duo possessing game-changing ability in the final-third, plus the pair eager to make a statement after difficult opening outings, goals could well be on the agenda at London Road.