Ex-Portsmouth defender's return 'massive' as Peterborough beat Rotherham and Ipswich move top of League One
Darren Ferguson heaped praise on his Peterborough side after defeating fellow promotion-chasers Rotherham.
The Posh’s 2-1 win not only moved them into the play-off places, but helped knock the Millers off the League One summit.
Ipswich’s victory over Lincoln ensured they leapfrogged Rotherham and moved top.
Peterborough’s win also demoted Pompey to eighth in the standings as they marched into the FA Cup fifth round with a 4-2 win against Barnsley at Fratton Park.
Following a poor run of form, London Road boss Ferguson is delighted with his side’s response.
And ex-Pompey favourite Nathan Thompson, who departed the south coast in the summer after rejecting a new contract, has been credited for the Posh’ upturn.
Ferguson told the Peterborough Telegraph: ‘The desire the players showed to get a vital win and the backing they received from the fans was just like the good old days.
‘That desire on and off the pitch is what I will take from this game, along with two quality goals and some excellent defending from our team.
'I felt going into it, that this was a must-win game for us. If we’d lost Rotherham would have been 10 points ahead of us and that’s too much. Now we are only four points behind them and if we finish anywhere near Rotherham we will be close to going up as they will definitely be there or thereabouts.
‘You know what you are going to get from Rotherham. They are big and strong and they load balls into the penalty area whenever they can. You have to stand up to them to have any chance and we did that.
‘They blew us away at their place, but the three new loan signings and the return of Nathan Thompson, Josh Knight and Siriki Dembele is massive for us.
‘We are a different side now. To beat the top two in successive matches is a great effort. And we deserved to beat them both. The last few minutes was like the Alamo, but I can only remember Christy Pym making one good save.
‘It’s been an outstanding response to a poor run of form.’
Ipswich are back setting the pace with their narrow 1-0 success against Lincoln at Portman Road.
Luke Woolfenden headed home the only goal of the game a minute before half-time.
Paul Lambert insists he’s not getting carried away however.
He told the East Anglian Daily Times: ‘I never bother with the table. It's May when it matters. I see it if it's on TV but I don't pay attention to it. I focus on my guys and staff.
‘I don't deal with social media and all the nonsense that the world provides these days. I'm happy in my own bubble. I'm too long in the tooth for all that.
‘Even as a player I didn't care about the table until the prizes get handed out.
‘You can't get carried away because it's only January. You don't win anything in January. You don't win anything in February, March or April. Doing well in those months gives you a chance, obviously.’
Phil Parkinson was happy to pick up a point as Sunderland were held to a goalless draw at home to Doncaster of Friday night.
The Black Cats travel to Fratton Park for a crunch clash against the Blues next weekend.
Parkinson said: ‘First half we were 100 miles an hour without and with the ball, second half we added composure, got in some great positions but couldn’t find a goal.
‘Credit to Doncaster, they stiffened up the midfield area, we just needed to add that composure and we got into some fantastic positions.
‘They did defend well. Very solid and resolute in everything they did, but equally I thought we concentrated at the back very well. We have to make sure the back door is shut and we don’t lose it, the concentration levels were great by our men at the back.
‘We go into a big week for us now on the road with a point. We had good elements to our play, in that first period when we were not at our best, we had to make sure we defended properly and we restricted them.’
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