The Football League Paper - - ADAM VIRGO -

SOME­TIMES, you watch a team and see that spark that makes you think,“Yes – they’ll be in con­tention for pro­mo­tion”.

Watch­ing Peter­bor­ough lose to Colch­ester in the FA Cup, I’m afraid I didn’t see that at all.

Their for­ward line is top drawer: Craig Mack­ail-Smith and Aaron McLean, Con­nor Wash­ing­ton and Luke James.

But the mid­field lacks cre­ativ­ity and, worse still, the whole team looks re­ally short on con­fi­dence.

For me, the prob­lem is three­fold. If you keep sell­ing big play­ers, you’ll even­tu­ally get bit­ten on the back­side.

Peter­bor­ough lost Dwight Gayle and Britt As­som­ba­longa in quick suc­ces­sion. Craig Al­cock – ar­guably one of the best right- backs in the di­vi­sion – joined Sh­effield United.

Then there’s the dis­rup­tion. When I first went to Brighton, we went League Two, League One, Cham­pi­onship, League One and Cham­pi­onship again. My first five sea­sons, I played in five dif­fer­ent di­vi­sions.

Peter­bor­ough have taken the same route and, while it’s ex­cit­ing for fans, it’s dif­fi­cult to plan ahead or build a set­tled side.

Peter­bor­ough were rel­e­gated from the Cham­pi­onship in 2013 after con­ced­ing a last-minute equaliser to Palace on the fi­nal day. No­body had gone down with more points.Then, last year, they lost to Ley­ton Ori­ent in the play-off semis.That is two nasty kicks in the teeth.

Those set-backs, cou­pled with the dis­rup­tion and player sales, seem to have af­fected them badly.

Is Dar­ren Fer­gu­son in trou­ble? Well, even though they’ve been on this hor­ren­dous run, they aren’t all that far off the play-offs. And not many man­agers have a track record of win­ning pro­mo­tion like Dar­ren.

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