The first game of pre-season that took place earlier this evening against Cork City proved to be a positive run out for Chris Hughton’s charges, culminating in a 1-0 win for his side.
It was by no means an enthralling game; however pre-season matches are about bleeding in new players; looking at different formations and for a new manager in Hughton, seeing what each player brings to the game as an individual and working as a team.
A professional performance put on by the travelling side who flew to Ireland earlier on in the week, Blues never looked out of their depth nor too troubled by a Cork side who are half way through their season. New players were given a run out, including Morgaro Gomis and Adam Rooney who both more than impressed in their debuts for the club. As well as this, youngsters Nathan Redmond and Akwasi Asante were both given a chance; which is hopefully a sign of things to come for the new season.
Rooney got the first goal of the game and showed what he will hopefully be bringing to the table when the real ball comes out in less than a months’ time. On the half hour mark he reacted to a deflected save from the Cork City goal keeper and tapped the ball home with ease; opening his account for Blues in a game which he undoubtedly impressed.
Although it proved to be the only goal in the ninety minutes, Blues fashioned plenty more chances; most notably a 35 yard strike from Keith Fahey which was expertly tipped over. Colin Doyle in a web-chat earlier on today described Fahey as having the most pin-point shot now Seb Larsson has left the club, and hopefully we see much more of this on a regular basis.
In a game which saw Blues comfortable in possession for the majority, it can definitely be said that tonight was a good chance for Hughton’s team to have a run out, and for the manager himself to assess the players he has at his disposal and what he needs to add to the ranks before the season starts of the 6th August.
Staying on the subject of transfers, it seems as if Barry Ferguson will be leaving the club to join up with fellow Championship side Blackpool, and will complete the move some time next week. It has been said by many that we need to move on, and so in selling Ferguson we are in effect ending the McLeish era thereby allowing Hughton to bring in pacey midfielders that spectators want to see, however losing Ferguson who is a great asset to the team and a footballing genius, it will be a blow to the team and a big hole in midfield to fill.
Saying that, we have enough at our disposal to be able to fill said hole, and move on from the ‘McLeish era’, firmly into the Hughton era – one which has begun with a win.