Gannon's common touch boosts Posh

Peterborough Utd 1 QPR 0: Tactical switch earns debut win for manager who has uphill struggle in relegation fight
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The Independent Online

Not many people would agree to work for a man they had never met let alone one with a reputation for hiring and then firing, but Jim Gannon has done exactly that. And, after watching Peterborough win only their fourth game of their Championship campaign, he sees no reason to regret becoming the club's third manager in three months.

Gannon was fired himself just two months ago when his reluctance to sign a contract at Motherwell convinced the Scottish Premier League club to look elsewhere. But a new opportunity arrived at London Road last week.

Peterborough owner Darragh MacAnthony, having fallen out with Darren Ferguson in November, had just pulled the plug on Mark Cooper, whose elevation from Kettering in the Conference produced just one victory in 13 attempts.

Gannon has already made progress in changing that picture, with a ninth-minute goal from Aaron McLean enough to defeat Queen's Park Rangers, the Championship's other soap opera and manager-shedding club, in his first game in charge.

The 41-year-old, who built his managerial reputation at Stockport, was bold in his tactical selection, employing just three men at the back and giving George Boyd, the captain, a free role behind the front two. It worked too, as Boyd's composure in the penalty box set up the goal.

Overturning a nine-point deficit on the clubs outside the relegation zone is Gannon's top priority, but Peterborough remain bottom despite this win. Gannon has been appointed until the end of the season but MacAnthony has indicated that he regards him as a longer-term appointee whatever the outcome of this season.

The property developer is based in the US and wants Gannon to fly out to formulate plans for next season and beyond. Gannon, however, has only Cardiff, Peterborough's destination tomorrow night, on his mind. "I've told him I've got way too much work on," he said. "Obviously the longer picture needs time to chat over and discuss so that will happen in the next few weeks or months.

"I would love to go to New York, I love the city, but for me the priority is to be as hands-on as much I can to make sure we turn things round. I could meet him in Dublin I suppose – or Shannon Airport."

This was Rangers' third straight defeat without even a goal and they will have to do without midfielder Mikele Leigertwood and Peter Ramage at home to Ipswich Town tomorrow after both were sent off.

Mick Harford is their third manager of the season and will go the same way as Jim Magilton and Paul Hart if his team continues to lurch towards the relegation zone.

Harford felt the straight red given to Leigertwood on the hour for a lunge on Tommy Rowe was the turning point. "It all hinged on the sending-off and from where I was standing it looked very harsh," he said.

Peterborough (3-4-1-2): Lewis; Morgan, Bennett, Williams; Whelpdale, Lee (Simpson, h-t), Livermore, Rowe; Boyd (Frecklington, 83); Mackail-Smith (McLeod, 83), McLean. Substitutes not used: McKeown (gk), Gilbert, Geohaghan, Reid.

Queen's Park Rangers (4-4-2): Ikeme; Ramage, Gorkss, Connolly, Hill; Leigertwood, Quashie (Ephraim, 57) Faurlin, Cook (Vine, 81); Bent, Priskin (Simpson, 65). Substitutes not used: Cerny (gk), Stewart, Buzsaky, German.

Referee: D McDermid (Yorkshire).

Booked: Peterborough Bennett, Lee, Simpson; QPR Ramage.

Sent off: QPR Leigertwood, Ramage.

Man of the match: Boyd.

Attendance: 8,933.

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