There was a time, not so very long ago, when the only time that Bolton and Peterborough would meet would be in the cup. At an early stage.
There was also a time, not so very long ago, when we would meet a Ferguson twice a season. And generally lose.
This season, due to our constrained circumstances, not only are we meeting Peterborough in the league, for only the seventh time, we have to come up against Ferguson Jnr.
Still, at least in Christmas week, we get to go to one of the more picturesque cities in the Championship. I dare say they have fake snow in front of the cathedral and choir boys singing carols in the city square. A lone donkey will be braying as children take turns to clamber on its back and take a trip round the market. And chestnuts will be roasted on a open fire as locals gather round and tell tales of Christmas past.
Then we come to town and, after Mad Friday, probably make is Stupid Saturday.
Peterborough have won just two homes games this season, losing the rest, and sit rock bottom of the division. Anything other than a win tomorrow and the juddering wheels of optimism will come right off the rails.
‘I have watched two or three Peterborough games this week and they are certainly performing. They played very well at Charlton and they were unfortunate to lose that game. They beat Cardiff at the weekend, against a team I think will get promoted this year, so you can`t take them lightly and we have to make sure that we are fully prepared for what they can bring to the table.’ Dougie reminds us that the home side will be no pushovers. And that there will be no leftovers on the table. Or something. I’ve got Christmas on the brain.
‘We beat the best, now for the rest.’ Peterborough Telegraph headline. Ferguson doesn’t actually say this but calls Cardiff the best. As we also beat Cardiff, does that make us the best of the rest?
‘It won`t be easy on Saturday as Bolton have some high-class players and they will be very well-organised by a very good manager. Dougie Freedman has altered the way they play and they will be dangerous opponents. But we should take so much confidence from last weekend into the game and I`m confident we will get another positive result.’ Little Fergie, being slightly more magnaminous than his father.
Peterborough United Team News:
Nathaniel Knight-Percival, posh cousin four times removed of our own Zat Knight-Perceivable, has recovered from an ankle injury that forced him off last weekend at Cardiff.
Player to watch: George Boyd
As the only Peterborough player most people know, and someone who we were linked with a couple of summers ago, Boyd is an easy contender for player to watch. He’s also Posh’s leading scorer. That is all I have.
Bolton Wanderers Team News:
Stephen Warnock plays his last game before returning, albeit possibly temporarily, to Aston Villa. No new injuries this week, but there are enough to be going on with anyway.
Player to watch: David N’Gog
‘I’ve seen the future, and its name is David N’Gog’ said Al last week. And then he went and scored twice. So I’ll name him again and put the kibosh on that. You never know which N’Gog will turn up. The one that runs teams ragged and then gets sent off or the one who disappears when the chips are down. Tomorrow, against the team bottom of the league, we may see his true character. From the bench, naturally.
Match Facts & Stats
Other than the League Cup third round tie in 1977, which we won 3-1, Bolton and Posh have only met in the league and then only six times. The first, at Burnden in 1987, was a fourth division match, John Thomas slipping one in with Steve Thompson scoring the other in a 2-0 victory. Thomas is the leading scorer in the fixture, having netted a hat trick in the return fixture.
The last time the teams met was in the second tier in 1994, Andy Walker scoring twice in a 3-2 win at London Road. Bolton hold a 4-1 lead in the fixture and a 2-1 lead at Peterborough. So. You know. Omens and everything.
It’s Christmas, but 2-1 has been good to me this year so let’s top it off with another one. Or 2-0. Hell, who cares?
Wednesday. On Wednesday. Or Boxing Day, if you prefer.