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Nicholas Bilokapic: Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson defends goalkeeper after 'torrent of abuse'

Nicholas Bilokapic playing for Peterborough
Nicholas Bilokapic has played eight senior games for parent club Huddersfield

Peterborough manager Darren Ferguson has defended goalkeeper Nicholas Bilokapic after criticism of his performances by fans "got personal".

Posh's drive for promotion from League One has stuttered with defeats at Exeter City and Wycombe Wanderers.

But Ferguson's side are still fifth in the table, just four points behind second-placed Derby County.

"I think the situation with Nick has steamrollered and got out of hand," Ferguson told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

"I am fully aware that in this industry you have to take criticism. If you can't deal with that, you really shouldn't be in it. I don't read social media but I feel with Nick it's got personal.

"I think his performance at Exeter didn't deserve the torrent of abuse he got after the game because he actually played well.

"He deserves to be criticised for Saturday because he made mistakes but you have to be mindful, especially these days, of people's mental health."

Bilokapic, 21, joined Peterborough from Huddersfield Town on a season-long loan last summer and has made 32 appearances this season, including 10 clean sheets.

Against Wycombe, he failed to deal with a cross for Wycombe's fourth goal and then his stray pass to a team-mate was intercepted by David Wheeler, who fired home to round off a 5-2 victory.

"I've got to look after the boy and make sure he's OK in terms of dealing with it because he's never been through it before. I knew when I brought him in that there would be mistakes made. We'll rally round him," said Ferguson.

"Fans are completely entitled to their own opinion but when it gets personal I've got to say something about it."

Peterborough now have two home games to try to regain their recent winning form, against managerless Port Vale on Tuesday and Blackpool on Saturday.

And Ferguson has a more experienced option available in Jed Steer, who played four games while on loan last month before returning from Aston Villa in a permanent deal on deadline day.

"It's a real positive season and we've got to make sure we take a breath, and take stock of where we're at - but we also have to be mindful that we have to start getting more clean sheets, the goals we've been conceding have been too soft," the Scot added.

"We've just lost that little bit of edge - we've conceded 10 goals in three games. So although we want to score goals and are the highest scorers in the league, averaging nearly two a game, it's really important that we cut out the goals we are conceding at the moment."

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