Peterborough boss slams players ahead of key Portsmouth trip | another promotion rival admits times are hard as they slip up yet again

Manager Darren Ferguson has slammed his players after Peterborough crashed out of the FA Cup against non-league Chorley.
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And with less than a week to go before Posh head to Fratton Park for a crunch game in this season’s promotion race – a game that will see 2,000 home fans return to PO4 – the London Road boss said he would waste no time in rooting out the problem.

Peterborough currently sit second in the League One table – three points above the fifth-placed Blues.

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They’ve lost two of their past three league games, but were clear favourites to join Pompey in the third round of the Cup when they lined up against National League North Chorley.

That view was reinforced with Ferguson making only one change to the side that beat Plymouth in midweek, with top-scorer Jonson Clarke-Harris absent because of an ankle injury.

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However, it never worked out that way, with the non-leaguers claiming a famous win.

Afterwards, Ferguson said he was ‘appalled’ by his team’s performance and insisted the visitors deserved to win by a greater margin.

Peterborough's Jack Taylor looks dejected after his side's FA Cup defeat at the hands of Chorley.  Picture: Catherine Ivill/Getty ImagesPeterborough's Jack Taylor looks dejected after his side's FA Cup defeat at the hands of Chorley.  Picture: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Peterborough's Jack Taylor looks dejected after his side's FA Cup defeat at the hands of Chorley. Picture: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
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He told the Peterborough Telegraph: ‘There are times when you lose when you’re a bit unlucky and the opposition score from their only two shots, but this was nothing like that.

‘We enjoyed the perfect start with a good finish from Jack (Taylor), but from then on we were second best all over the pitch.

‘They dominated us and we can have no complaints about the result. Chorley were excellent, they deserved to win by more and I hope they go on and get a great draw in the third round.

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‘They hit the bar and the post, and they missed a penalty, whereas we had one shot on target in the second half and that’s not good enough.

‘Our performance was completely unacceptable and always will be.

‘I will have to dig deep to find the reasons why and to find answers and solutions. I have my suspicions, but I will go through it with the players (today) and take it from there.

‘We had one player missing from the side that won and played well against Plymouth on Tuesday.

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‘Obviously he (Clarke-Harris) is a big player for us as we have no-one else like him, but this result can’t be put down the absence of one man.

‘As a team we were appalling.’

Clarke-Harris has netted seven times for the Posh this season and it remains unclear whether he’ll be back to feature against Pompey at Fratton Park on Saturday.

Meanwhile, while both the Blues and Peterborough were in FA Cup action yesterday, Charlton beat Ipswich 2-0 in League One to move up to third in the table.

The defeat was the Tractor Boys’ third in four league outings as they remain below Pompey in the table (sixth).

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And with Kenny Jackett’s side due back at Portman Road on December 12, Ipswich boss Paul Lambert admitted these were ‘hard times’ for his side.

He told the East Anglian Daily Times: ‘We have so many injuries. The engine room of the team is lightweight at the minute. We’ve got three players in there (Liam Gibbs, Brett McGavin and Andre Dozzell) who are aged 17, 21 and 21.

‘We’re having a hard time. I don’t think there’s any getting away from that.

‘You’ve got to stick together. You have big moments. I always say to the guys that it doesn’t matter if you do good, bad or indifferent, you’ve got to stick together and keep level heads. Don’t get too high when you win and don’t get too low when you lose.’

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Elsewhere in League One, Oxford lost 2-1 at home to Swindon, while Fleetwood and Sunderland drew 1-1 on Friday night.

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