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Peterborough United boss Darren Ferguson remains focused on Trophy success and Sky Bet League 1 promotion

5 February 2014

By Tony Leighton

The first part of the double that Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson is intent on achieving this season will be a big step closer if his team can beat Sky Bet League 1 rivals Swindon Town in their Johnstone's Paint Trophy Southern Area Final clash.

"Winning promotion and the Trophy are the two targets we've set ourselves," Ferguson told ahead of Wednesday evening's first leg at London Road. "Both targets are still very much achievable.

"We're just below the Play-Off places in the League and in the Trophy we're two games away from reaching Wembley, which was our aim from the start.

"I've put my strongest available team out in every round of the Trophy that we've played and we've come through some tough games to get this far.

"Now we've got another difficult tie against a team who are also in the running for promotion, but we've got that huge carrot of Wembley as our incentive.

"The opportunity to appear at Wembley doesn't come around too often for any player or manager, so we'll be giving it our all to get there."

As a player, Ferguson went to Wembley just once, with his father Sir Alex's Manchester United team, but he was an unused substitute as United beat Arsenal on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the 1993 FA Charity Shield.

Twelve years later he collected a Football League Trophy winner's medal with Wrexham, scoring in a 2-0 victory over Southend United, but with Wembley being redeveloped the match was played at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

Wembley was also otherwise engaged, this time busy hosting the Champions League final, when, as manager, he led Posh to victory over Huddersfield Town in the 2011 League 1 Play-Off Final - though he had no complaints about the venue.

That game was played at Manchester United's Old Trafford, and Ferguson recalled: "That day was very special personally as well as professionally.

"To lead a team out at Old Trafford was a great feeling because of my links with the club, and hopefully now I can get to lead a team out at Wembley."

Peterborough and Swindon are heading into the Trophy's Southern Area Final on the back of disappointing runs in League 1. Posh having fallen from joint-top in late October to seventh in the table while the Robins sit one place and four points lower.

Ferguson's team have won on only two of their last nine league and cup outings, one of their recent defeats coming at Swindon - but the Robins' 2-1 victory on that occasion was their only success in the last five matches they have played.

Recent results will count for nothing on Wednesday evening, however, insists Ferguson. "This is a cup match and form can go out of the window," he said.

"What's important is how we play on the night, and if we play well enough in both legs we can hopefully get to Wembley and give our season a real boost."

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