Pre-Season Spain Tour 2009 Review
Pre-season games are never the best way to rate the squad ahead of a new League campaign but I'll review how the tour went and share my thoughts on the player's performances over the four days.
Paulo Sousa and the squad were in Palamos on Friday and Sunday, with games against Espanyol B (2-0) and Palamos (0-2). We struggled here on a tight and compact pitch but we more freedom and space on Monday in Sabadell.
Sousa explored some different line-ups and formations such as 352, 451 and 442. 352 didn't seem to work that well against Gimnastic as our wingers aren't used to playing more defensive roles.
Dorus De Vries - Solid and consistent throughout, made some excellent saves and saved his first penalty.
David Cornell - Not a bad display but he never really impressed either.
Alan Tate - particularly impressed in the Gimnastic game when he was captain, hardly put a foot wrong then and he's looking to stake his claim for a regular place.
Garry Monk - made a costly error when he was too casual in possession against Sabadell. Williams didn't shine either and we'll need a new centre back to give them some competition.
Bessone, Collins and Serran - I think we'll need better players than these to improve our strength in depth.
Painter and Rangel - Both just back from injuries so they didn't feature much.
Trialists - the Brazilian, Fernando, has pace, was comfortable on the ball and was pretty consistent. It'll take a few more games though to see if he's really good enough to improve our squad. The Portuguese, Pedro Rodriguez, struggled in his first game in Palamos but improved in Sabadell. I doubt we'll offer him a contract though.
Dyer - his pace caused the opposition at times and he's a good battler
Gower - looked average in first game but improved against Gimnastic, got forward and put in some decent crosses.
Orlandi - didn't shine and he'll need to improve if he wants to be involved more next season
Lopez - the new midfield signing didn't play often but while other players struggled at times, Lopez seemed to instantly gel with the side and was consistent. He also helped set up Gower's first goal for the club against Palamos. I don't want to judge him after a couple of games but he's likely to be a regular first teamer next season.
MacDonald - He started the first game against Espanyol B and he was involved a lot in our play but his shooting let him down as he had a few chances on goal. Sousa is looking for goalscoring midfielders and Shaun will need to improve that part of his game.
Britton and Allen - both consistent with a lot of effort as usual but neither of them stood out over the four days
Bauza - he's still finding it difficult to prove himself, he can't impress in midfield or up front and I'm wondering how long he'll be with us. Sousa is looking for another striker and he'll be bottom of the pecking order.
Bond - he had a decent game in Sabadell and was unlucky not to score but I'll be very surprised if Sousa doesn't let him go soon.
Pintado - didn't score on tour and should have against Espanyol B but he fired a shot the bar and rounding the keeper. His strength and power was a problem and if we play the right formation he could form a good partnership with Dobbie.
Dobbie - the new frontman didn't have the best of games in Palamos but he ended the tour brilliantly with a superb brace. He took his goals very well, especially the second one and he showed that he can finish with style.