Friendly fire

Andy Munro watches Blues’ pre-season 1-1 draw with Brighton.

Most people think that friendlies are a waste of time in judging what’s going to happen when the real stuff kicks off. The rather sparse crowd reflected the many typical comments I heard during the preceding week from fellow bluenoses such as “I never bother with friendlies”, “They’re only played at half pace” and so on.

Personally I’m glad I went as, for a fiver, I saw a very competitive game where both managers played fully-strength sides with players keen to impress their respective managers. Overall Blues deserved to edge it but were pegged back at the death although, given our currently limited resources, signs were generally very encouraging.

So what did I learn individually about the players?

CONNAL TRUEMAN: Very agile, making a couple of excellent saves. He also has a great kick but stature-wise he’s of the Benno and Paul Cooper physique which meant he punched the ball more than I would have liked in defending corners.

MAXIME COLIN: A quality player but just a shame he displaces the excellent Wes Harding

KRISTIAN PEDERSON: Looks a real find, strong in the tackle, good at dead ball kicking and excellent distribution. Showed a few Ronaldo flicks as well. Only downside is he played a bit to narrow at times and needs Morrison and Deane to talk more.

HARLEE DEAN: Another influential and excellent game. Hard as nails but skilful with it.

MICHAEL MORRISON: Not quite the Morro of old but still a steady performance

CRAIG GARDNER: Showed a couple of great touches but not convincing

MIKEL KIEFTENBELD: Apart from his wonder goal kept things ticking over nicely and if occasionally his distribution let him down, he snapped right back to rectify those errors

JACQUES MAGHOMA: As usual, a box of tricks and generally an impressive performance

JOTA: Ditto the Maghoma comments

LUKAS JUTKIEWICZ: An excellent hard working performance and kept the likes of Lewis Dunk fully occupied

CHE EVANS: Showed some decent pace and kept the Brighton defence busy but it feels like there should be a bit more.

SUBSTITUTES: Otabor looked impressively lively; Ndoye is a trier so let’s leave it at that; Marc Roberts as usual looked a bit agricultural and Lubala looks decent without convincing he can challenge regularly. Dacres-Cogley wasn’t on long enough to really form an impression.