Graham Westley told Peterborough fans to judge him on how the Posh plays under his management following some negative reaction to his appointment and the controversial coach has won over many of his detractors in double-quick time.
Best known for guiding Stevenage to back-to-back promotions that took Boro from England’s fifth tier to its third level, the football that many Westley-managed teams have played has not been very easy on the eye, hence why some Peterborough supporters were upset when the Posh’s ebullient chairman, Darragh MacAnthony, hired Westley after a 10-day interview process during which the two characters got on superbly.
Peterborough’s Westley era kicked off with a 2-0 English League One victory at Bradford and the Posh have gone on to make it three divisional wins out of four games since their new boss began picking their side. Peterborough has beaten Bradford (2-0 away), Millwall (5-3 at home) and Swindon (2-1 away), while it was about 10 minutes from earning a draw at home to Bury even though it had Erhun Oztumer sent off in the 25th minute – the Posh lost 2-3 to the in-form Shakers.
MacAnthony is one of English League One’s most ambitious owners and he did not hesitate to act when he thought that Peterborough was underperforming in the first part of the season. Westley has his faults but he is a proven promotion winner and Peterborough has more than enough talent on its books – plus money in the bank – for it to challenge for one of the three spots up for grabs in the English Championship next term. Next up for Peterborough is an English League One match at Port Vale on Saturday, a game that one thinks that the Posh are overpriced to win – Betfred are quoting Peterborough at odds of +210 .
Peterborough is one point and three rungs above Port Vale on the English League One ladder and there is a stark contrast between the recent results of the Posh and the Valiants – whereas Peterborough has won each of its three matches under Westley in which it has had the same number of players as its opponent, Port Vale is coming off losses at home to Blackpool and away to Southend in various competitions.
Twelve rounds is getting close to a respectable sample size and, based on their respective English League One ladder positions, Peterborough ought to be trading at odds of under +200 to win at Port Vale on Saturday. Factor in the recent form of the two teams and the obvious positive impact that Westley has had on Peterborough’s fortunes and one gets to the point where the Posh are not far off being favourites.
Look at English League One attempts and attempts-on-target statistics and it is clear that Peterborough is a side with potential to push for the title provided that Westley sorts out its propensity to give up chances. Only English League One leader Walsall has had more attempts than Peterborough but no divisional rival has had more attempts on its own goal than the Posh. There is a saying that defences win championships but, in a one-off game, one would rather bet on a team that knows how to rustle its opponent’s onion bag and Peterborough may end the English League One season as its highest scorer – the Posh are ranked joint second currently, two goals off the pace set by Gillingham.
Therefore, this week’s best outsider on the English football coupon is Peterborough at odds of +210 to win at Port Vale on Saturday and, if you want to get really adventurous, you could do worse than back the Posh to win despite not keeping a clean sheet, an option that is available at odds of +450 with Bet365. Peterborough has kept only one clean sheet in its 12 English League One matches, plus Port Vale has fired just one blank on its own pitch.
Peterborough to beat Port Vale
17th October 15:00 GMT