When Jonson Clarke-Harris left Bristol Rovers to signal for Peterborough on August 27 final 12 months, a switch merry-go-round started to show.
His arrival on the Weston Properties Stadium paved the way in which for Posh’s in-demand striker Ivan Toney to hitch Brentford, which, in flip, allowed the Bees to promote Ollie Watkins to Aston Villa for a Championship file charge.
All three strikes have been accomplished inside a fortnight and have been mutually useful; Toney is on track to interrupt the second-tier goalscoring file, whereas Watkins has settled impressively as Villa look to cement a top-half Premier League end.
Clarke-Harris was the one one of many trio to not step up a division, however he has taken his recreation to new heights beneath the steerage of Darren Ferguson, with a career-best 23 objectives in all competitions thus far firing the membership firmly into computerized promotion rivalry in League One.
“My confidence is sky excessive,” he tells Sky Sports activities in an unique interview, after gathering the Sky Guess League One Participant of the Month award for February.
“There’s all the time strain, however it’s good strain. The boy Toney smashed it right here and he is smashing it now. He is made me need to do higher.
“It simply makes me really feel like I will get an opportunity each recreation and rating each recreation – it is simply right down to me to place them at the back of the online. I do know gamers are going to offer me probabilities, it is simply me ending them off.”
It’s, in reality, the second time Clarke-Harris – the division’s present joint-top scorer with Sunderland’s Charlie Wyke on 21 objectives – has performed for the membership throughout the final decade.
Having hit the headlines when he grew to become Coventry’s youngest participant simply three weeks after his sixteenth birthday in August 2010, he first signed for Posh two years later however departed for Oldham after only one season having did not make a first-team look.
There is not any speak of this being a second likelihood, although; fairly every little thing becoming into place at simply the precise time.
“I do not see it as a second likelihood in any respect,” he continues, in a steadfast method.
“After I was right here the primary time, I used to be younger and I used to be nowhere close to the primary crew. We had individuals like Dwight Gayle, Paul Taylor, Grant McCann, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and so they have been all on hearth on the time.
“It was robust to even get wherever close to the crew once they have been within the Championship, so I really feel like that is my good time to return again to the membership and hopefully succeed with them.”
The 26-year-old reveals Ferguson – who was additionally on the helm throughout his first spell – performed a key function in persuading him to depart Rovers and return.
“Halfway via lockdown I spoke to the boss, who informed me there was curiosity and requested if I wish to be part of his plans. I used to be completely happy I bought the telephone name as a result of I positively did. He is bought a profitable mentality, the membership have all the time bought high gamers and each season they’ve a proper go and attempt to get promotion.
“I knew what Peterborough have been making an attempt to do that 12 months and that is one thing I needed to be concerned in. I all the time knew I used to be going to get objectives on this crew and I am at a sure level now the place I simply need to keep it up and get higher.
“I had a superb season-and-a-half at Bristol Rovers and it satisfied me greater than ever that I can rating objectives. Coming to Peterborough the place there’s higher gamers and a greater squad, it made sense for me to make the step to progress in my profession.”
Eight lengthy years have handed since Peterborough have been relegated from the Championship, whereas Clarke-Harris himself hasn’t performed at second-tier degree since final doing so with Rotherham in 2016/17. Each now have a golden likelihood to return.
An ideal six wins from six in February took them to the highest of League One for the primary time since November but March has began with a draw and two disappointing defeats, one in all which got here final week towards Hull, who’ve taken over as leaders and are at present blazing a path with a six-point benefit.
Ferguson’s males, nevertheless, have three video games in hand, the primary of which comes on Tuesday towards managerless Portsmouth, who parted firm with Kenny Jackett after their Papa John’s Trophy remaining defeat to Salford. Their goal is in sight.
“We are able to clearly see within the remaining months who’s bought the higher motivation, who’s the fittest, who’s the strongest,” he provides. “These are the occasions once we see the groups that may rise above the others.
“Contact wooden, it [the schedule] is simply a type of issues we have got to get on with. The boss provides us days off when he seems like we want a relaxation and he tones down the coaching when he feels as if we have labored arduous sufficient.
“The sports activities scientists on the membership are spot on as nicely. I feel they have it beneath management greater than we really assume we have now ourselves as gamers however we’re all match sufficient to final via the season anyway.
“We have got to take each step because it comes. That was all the time the aim, to get promotion. We’re in such a superb place now I really feel like we will do it, we have simply bought to exit on the pitch and present it.
“I am unable to touch upon subsequent season as a result of we’re not there but however it might be good to get to Championship degree once more and present all people what not solely I can do however what the remainder of the squad can do as nicely.”
It might simply be a matter of months till Clarke-Harris will get the prospect to do exactly that.