Three ex-Portsmouth players face uncertain futures at League One rival as Peterborough plan summer overhaul

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Three ex-Pompey players could find themselves surplus to requirements at Peterborough – if Darren Ferguson decides to remain with the Posh.

Doubts have emerged over the futures of Dan Butler, Nathan Thompson and Ben Thompson – along with others – as the London Road side prepare to announce their retained list. The club are also expected to clarify Ferguson’s position before the end of the week, with the 50-year-old returning as manager in January on a contract until the end of the season.

According to Posh co-owner Darragh MacAnthony, there could be a few surprises on the retained list. Ferguson – who guided Peterborough to this season’s play-off semi-finals, where they were beaten on penalties by Sheffield Wednesday following two legs – has apparently insisted on major changes.

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Speaking on his Hard Truth podcast, MacAnthony said the Scot wanted to work with a younger squad, adding that any new signings made this summer ‘won’t be over 25’.

Butler (28), Nathan Thompson (32) and Ben Thompson (27) all find themselves north of that age bracket. And given their decreasing importance to the side, the trio could realistically be sacrificed as the club plan for the future.

According to The Peterborough Telegraph’s Alan Swann, Posh will probably exercise the extra year option they have on Nathan Thompson’s expiring contract ‘just so they can get a fee for a defender who is not the force of two years ago’.

Sharing his thoughts on Ben Thompson, who arrived on a free transfer from Gillingham last summer, Swann said: ‘Could be a good squad player next season, but he played so rarely after Christmas who can possibly be sure?’

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Meanwhile, on the subject of Butler, who has a year left on his contract, Swann said: ‘Farewell to a promotion winner. He’s only 28, but we need fresher legs, like Nathanael Ogbeta (wishful thinking sadly).’

From left: Dan Butler, Nathan Thompson and Ben ThompsonFrom left: Dan Butler, Nathan Thompson and Ben Thompson
From left: Dan Butler, Nathan Thompson and Ben Thompson

Of the three, both Nathan Thompson and Butler made substitute appearances in the second leg of Peterborough’s play-off defeat to Wednesday. Ben Thompson remained on the bench for both games and has featured just once for Posh since the start of April.

Butler missed a penalty in the 5-3 penalty shoot-out defeat to the Owls.

MacAnthony said: ‘I had a three-hour conversation with the manager on Monday and those talks are ongoing. They were constructive talks. I told him my ideas and he told me his ideas, but nothing is set in stone and I can’t say one way or the other what will happen.

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‘I actually had a conversation with the manager before the play-offs and he did say that if he was to stay we’d need to change a lot of things. He said he’d want to go young and he’d want to go quick.

‘Becoming young, dynamic dark horses next season is not for financial reasons. I would still expect us to do well, but I won’t be shouting from the rooftops about it.

‘Darren has had input into the retained list which is only right as I trust and value his opinion. He spoke to the players we are letting go. There might be surprise at the number of players on that list, but again that’s nothing to do with finances.

‘We don’t often keep players for more than two seasons. Hopefully they’ve won something in that time before moving on. But we need a reset now. We will be signing players in the summer, they just won’t be over 25!’