Behind Enemy Lines: A look at Peterborough United

Sunderland face Peterborough United on Monday and we spoke to Alan Swann from Peterborough Today to get the low-down on our opponents.

Peterborough started the season really well and were an early pacesetter at the top of League One but now find themselves outside the playoffs, how would you summarise their season so far?

AS: I'd describe it as satisfactory, especially given the turmoil caused by a change of manager, and with it a dramatic change of playing philosophy, in February.

Posh do themselves no favours by starting well every season. With that comes higher expectations than a club of our size should command. Posh were top at the end of August and were only out of the top six for one week right up until the sacking of Steve Evans as manager.

But Posh probably are the seventh-best team in League One so their current position is fair. 

You have Darren Ferguson back at the helm for the third time, what has he changed since coming into the club?

AS: Firstly, it was a surprise to lose Steve Evans given that he'd signed 22 players in his 11 months at the club, but there was a personality clash with our chairman and there would only be one winner in that fight!

Asking Ferguson to manage a squad who had become used to the direct, counter-attacking style Evans preferred was a gamble and the new manager lost six of his first 10 League One games, after which his contract was unusually extended.

Ferguson tried to get the players to perform well in a midfield diamond which they weren't suited to, but credit to him because he has since adapted his methods to suit the players. They are still playing more passing football, but they have abandoned playing out from the back and the results have improved. Three wins in a row with three clean sheets leading up to the Easter weekend.

Which player should Sunderland fans be most weary of on Monday and why?

AS: Winger Marcus Maddison, who hails from the north-east, is in terrific form. He can have long spells out of the action, but he can deliver a glorious cross or score a great goal at any moment. He's the team's set-piece specialist.

Ferguson signed him from Gateshead in 2013 and he has revelled in the former manager's return.

Lee Tomlin is the most naturally gifted player in the squad though. He's not been at his best since coming back to the club in January, but he has great passing vision by League One standards.

Which Sunderland player are you fearful of and why?

AS: Aiden McGeady shouldn't be playing at this level.

Finally, what is your score prediction and why?

AS: The Good Friday game at Fleetwood will have a bearing on this prediction. If we win there, I'd be confident of not losing to Sunderland. 1-1 in that instance.

If we lose at Fleetwood, I fear we will struggle to contain a team which much more to play for. 2-0 in that instance.

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