PETERBOROUGH United boss Darren Ferguson has been forced to defend Luke James with the striker yet to score a league goal since his summer switch from Pools.
The 19-year-old left Hartlepool United on transfer deadline day to join League One Posh on a four-year deal for a fee of around £500,000 plus add-ons.
It followed a summer-long pursuit by Peterborough for the highly-rated teenager but he is yet to take League One by storm - failing to score in eight league matches.
James did score on his debut for the club, against Leyton Orient in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tie, but he hasn’t scored since.
Posh were beaten 2-1 at home to bottom side Scunthorpe on Saturday, their third successive League One defeat but Ferguson stood by his decision to leave out goalscorer Conor Washington in favour of James.
Ferguson said: “In some areas of the pitch a run of poor form can be camouflaged, but not so for a striker.
“There is nothing wrong with Luke’s effort, but things are not dropping for him at the moment.
“We need to help him through it and get him back scoring goals but if Conor had shown the energy he showed Saturday in recent games, he would have played.
“Players complaining of tiredness doesn’t thrill me if I’m being honest.”
Ferguson’s side have now lost six of their opening 16 matches and have slipped out of the play-off places on goal difference.
James’ transfer deal was announced by Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony live on television less than 90 minutes before the summer transfer window closed.
Unsettled James, who signed a new contract with Pools in the summer, was first linked with a big money move to League One Posh on Thursday, August 7 – two days before the opening match of the Sky Bet League Two season away at Stevenage.
James later skipped a couple of days training and missed the 2-1 win at Wimbledon as a result.
He then returned to training but sealed his dream move to Posh on transfer deadline day.