A feature of the pre-season run of fixtures for the Blues has been the dominance, for large spells of each game, provided by a very fluid but structured midfield shape that has provided both a defensive shield and an attacking springboard.
Be it with two holding, or one sitting slightly deeper, the versatility on show has been the mainstay behind overall decent team displays, with manager Paul Simpson pleased at the way the information given has been utilised.
“We’ve got good players in there and I think they’ve shown that,” he said. “And I also thought Ryan Edmondson and Kristian Dennis caused real problems up front on Saturday, and we looked solid at the back.
“Big Tomas Holy came and dealt with a few things, and he gave us a few little scary moments when he was running out of his box, but we played some good football along the way.
“When we had to, we controlled the game well and we probably just had a spell of maybe five minutes in the second half where it became a bit too much like a basketball game.
“We managed to get the message on to get the players to slow it down again, and overall we got a lot of good things to build on.
“What we have to do now is make sure a really positive pre-season counts for something on Saturday.”
“I think the big thing is if you play from a structure and a shape, it allows you to win the balls back higher up the pitch, rather than all sitting off and letting them run at us,” he continued. “We’ve done a lot of work on transitions, and I thought some of the times we got in we had an overlaod in our favour.
“We found the right pass a lot of the times, we just didn’t get the finish, but we’ll continue to work with that sort of theme.
“The majority of goals are scored on a transition, and whether that’s us going from our defence, winning it back, to attack, or the other way round when we’re attacking and make sure we’ve got the structure right so the opposition can’t transition.
“It’s a big thing that we’ve worked on over pre-season and we’ve just got to keep drumming it into them day in day out, getting repetition to their work so that it becomes second nature.”
Working hard across the middle of the park again at the Mazuma was Owen Moxon, was on set piece duty alongside his midfield responsibilities.
“He’s a good, physical size and he’s a strong runner,” the manager commented. “For somebody who has just come into full-time football he’s up there at the front in the running.
“He’s a good personality to have around, he drives standards and we’ve got to hope that he gets even better as he gets used to this again.
“There are areas where he needs to improve, I don’t like him trying nutmegs 30 yards from our own goal and giving the ball away and we end up defending.
“There are bits he’s got to learn, and this isn’t me being disrespectful to Annan, but there are things he probably got away with there that he isn’t going to get away with here.
“He’s got to tighten it up and make sure he’s doing all of the things right because I think he could be a really good find for us.”
“I’m going to give Peter Murphy credit for that one because it was Murph who called me to say, you need to take him, if he’s going to leave us and go somewhere else, he needs to come to you.
“I thank Murph for that. I suppose that’s payback for me making him captain all the time. I went to see him, the other staff had been to see him, and we all had the same opinion.
“I think he’s settled in really well, but I do think there’s more to come. I would like to think with a consistent run of games at this level he’ll develop even further.”