Last Saturday's goalless draw against Colchester will have given the new man in charge at St Mary's some key information in his quest to find the team that can deliver on the club's ‘potential’.
Defensively, it would appear that the only work required is general ongoing maintenance. With a strong back line and equally strong cover in reserve, most of what does get through this should be mopped up by Kelvin Davis.
Rickie Lambert arguably had his best game of the season so far in forcing three saves from a keeper who was later to be named in the League One team of the week, and Lee Barnard looked busy and eager in his first match back after a three game suspension.
The midfield appears to be the ‘work in progress’ at the moment. Dean Hammond and Morgan Schneiderlin both seem to be playing the holding role at the moment, which means that the support to the front two is lacking something currently.
Whilst Alex Chamberlin will need a break at some point, he appears to be getting better with the greater confidence gained from playing regularly. Now may not be the time for him to have that break.
It was good to see Jason Puncheon playing in his more preferred position on the left wing on Saturday although, frustratingly, he still did not appear to have the key to unlock the opposition. This is where the big decision for Saturday's visit to Sheffield Wednesday will have to be taken.
Lee Holmes looked bright, quick, sharp and, more important than any of this, was very motivated during his brief appearance as a substitute on Saturday. In most successful football teams, players currently wearing the shirt need to be aware that, should performances dip, there is competition in reserve.
Those providing that competition need to be confident that good displays will be rewarded with starting places. This could see Holmes given that left berth from kick off at Hillsborough this weekend.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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