Peterborough host Derby County this weekend, in what will be one of six League One matches to take place on Saturday.
Despite being relegated from the Championship last season, both of these sides have had impressive campaigns so far, with both clubs currently in the thick of the race for the play-offs. But with just nine matches of the season left to play, it is vital that there are no slip-ups now for both of these sides’ promotion hopes.
Peterborough currently sits just outside the play-off places in seventh position, but they are only four points behind sixth-place Bolton Wanderers, and also the same amount of points behind Saturday’s opponents Derby, who are one place ahead in fifth. And they do come into this match in slightly better form, picking up three wins in their last six outings, as opposed to Derby’s two wins in six.
However, the Rams have ultimately had a better season than Peterborough, picking up just one less win than them but losing a lot less matches as well, which means that Derby sits in the play-off places currently and do have a high chance of achieving promotion back to the second tier. Ultimately, the meeting between these two sides at the London Road Stadium this weekend could be a defining moment in the race for promotion this season, and is sure to be a thrilling watch.
Posh have had an inconsistent season in which despite losing the most matches (15) out of any side in the top 14, they do still sit in seventh place just outside the play-off places, but Darren Ferguson’s men will need to sort out their inconsistent form if they want to finish within the top six this season.
Peterborough have managed to win five of their last ten league matches, but they have also lost four, with unnecessary losses coming at both Fleetwood and Cheltenham. So despite dominant away wins coming at both Burton Albion and Lincoln last week, the match previous to those wins saw Posh suffer an embarrassing 3-0 defeat to 17th-place Cheltenham. It is exactly this type of unpredictable form that has seen Peterborough sit just outside the play-off places instead of inside them, and they will need to rectify this if they want to earn promotion.
After their meeting with Derby this weekend, Peterborough have a favourable run of fixtures in which they will only play two sides currently ahead of them, with the other six fixtures coming against sides currently tenth place or lower. That run of favourable fixtures will be crucial for their promotion hopes, so securing a win this weekend will provide Peterborough with some much-needed momentum going into those final games of the season.
Likewise, Paul Warne’s Derby side are battling for promotion, but the Rams are in a more favourable position than Posh. Sitting in fifth place currently with a four-point advantage on Peterborough, the Rams look well set to secure a return back to the Championship. But to secure a win over Peterborough, they will need to sort out their poor recent form and dust themselves off after suffering a damaging defeat to Fleetwood on Saturday, which was their first home defeat since October.
Derby comes into this clash with just four wins from their last ten league games, with three of those four wins coming against sides in 17th place or lower. Apart from that, Derby have managed four draws and two losses, which is not the kind of form that a promotion-chasing side wants to be in as the season comes to a close. They will need to sort that out if they want all their efforts this season to mean something, and like Peterborough, they have a favourable run of fixtures after this weekend. They will need to play three sides currently in the top ten alongside them in Portsmouth, Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday, but their five other fixtures come against sides currently in the bottom half. A win this weekend could perhaps be useful in building up momentum and turning around their poor form going into these crucial final few weeks of the season.
This is a tough match to predict, with both of these promotion-chasing sides in similar form coming into the match. However, we think that Derby will emerge as the victors, but only just in what is sure to be a tight match. Derby’s 2-1 win in the reverse fixture (which was their 3rd win against Peterborough out of their last five meetings), alongside their better form over the course of this season should be enough to secure them a win here, although a Peterborough win would also not be a surprise.
Derby are priced at 8/5 odds to win, while Darren Ferguson’s men are also priced at 8/5 to win, underlining just how difficult this one is to predict.
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