Mikael Forssell showed a glimpse of his old form with the opening goal as Birmingham City defeated Derby County 4-0 in a friendly at Pride Park on Saturday.
With Emile Heskey, the other half of Blues' firstchoice strike partnership, scoring twice and Muzzy Izzet completing another step on his road to recovery, it was a good day all round for Blues manager Steve Bruce.
Most pleasing, perhaps was the manner of Forssell's strike - a clinical finish after he waltzed past two Derby defenders.
Njazi Kuqi scored the other goal, leaving Bruce delighted. "It was Mikael's first goal in a year," he said, "and I am delighted for him."
"To the naked eye he looks as fluent as he ever was and he has been working extremely hard."
Blues were little troubled in the match, keeping possession well in the first half-hour until Forssell latched on to an Izzet pass on the edge of the penalty area to break the stalemate.
Jermaine Pennant was in impressive form and his whipped-in cross to the sixyard area found Heskey who glanced home to double the lead.
In the second half Heskey slotted home his second from 15 yards and Kuqi poked home the fourth goal in the last minute.
Forssell said that he was confident that there was more to come.
"I am ambitious and I still believe that I can be one of the greatest strikers," he said. "I never had any doubt that I would be back scoring again but it was still great to score at last." Aston Villa manager David O'Leary was unhappy after watching his side held to a 1-1 draw by Jonkopings Sodra in Sweden.
O'Leary accused his players of "plodding" through the match and, as so often last season, it fell to midfielder Nolberto Solano to provide a goal.
Solano struck a superb 70th-minute opener from the edge of the penalty area. But a little bit of sloppiness in the Villa defence saw them pegged back through Joacim Dahlstrom five minutes later.
Villa had had their chances. Liam Ridgewell should have given Villa an early lead but headed into the ground, allowing the keeper to tip over the bar.
Luke Moore got on the end of a well-delivered Lee Hendrie one-two but, with the goal at his mercy, defender Alexandros Pappas took the ball off his toes.
Hendrie curled a longrange shot inches around the post while Villa believed they should have been awarded a penalty when Ulises de la Cruz was upended in the penalty area.
Villa led when Phillips and Angel combined superbly in the box to lay the ball back for the midfielder who struck his shot low and hard inside the far corner.
But Villa's joy was shortlived when Dahlstrom struck a first-time shot into the net from the edge of the area.
Despite his reservations about the pace of Villa's performance, O'Leary was nevertheless pleased with the work-out. He said: "We wanted a tough game and we got it.
"Nobby will always give you those goals - it was a wonderful strike and we should have had a few more."
Defender Mark Delaney underwent a scan on his injured knee yesterday but it is not thought to be too serious.
But O'Leary has warned the Wales defender that he faces a tough test in keeping out new signing Aaron Hughes who played at both left-back and then right-back in Saturday's game.
O'Leary said: "Aaron has proved a valuable player for Newcastle over many years playing in a variety of positions and the pressure is on Mark, for sure." Dundee boss Jim Duffy has backed Tom McManus after his late challenge on Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper Paul Jones and says there was no malice.
The former Southampton keeper was carried off midway through the first half of the Championship side's 4-0 City of Discovery Cup win after a collision with McManus.
The striker was chasing down a loose ball and his momentum took him crashing into Jones's head.
Jones spent eight minutes receiving attention from the medical staff but is not thought to be seriously injured.
Duffy said: "Tam wasn't to blame because he was entitled to go for the ball and slipped, there was no way he could pull back.
"It was disappointing to lose goals the way we did but I thought we competed well for 75 minutes. The players were tired towards the end but I was pleased with the way they stood up, especially after yesterday's result."
Duffy also praised 18-yearold defender Paul Dixon and hinted he may start the season at left-back.
"Paul was excellent over the two games and has put himself in contention for the start of the season," he added.
"I still want to bring in an experienced left-back, but he showed today that he's got enough to challenge for a regular place."
Wolves manager Glenn Hoddle says the collision between Jones and McManus was an "accident".
The Welshman has a suspected fractured cheekbone after the incident in the first period.
Hoddle said: "It's a big blow for Paul and the last thing you want to happen in pre-season.
"He was just unlucky and I don't think there's anyone to blame.
"Their boy tried to get out of the road but it was too late, it was an accident. Hopefully, he will be back in action as soon as possible."
Wolves had only themselves to blame for losing against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.
Wolves lost, eventually, on penalty kicks after a goalless 90 minutes in the first match of the tournament on Tayside, despite dominating proceedings and spurning countless chances to clinch victory.
The best fell to Kenny Miller from the penalty spot in the first half but the Scotland international striker could only hit the woodwork.
However, while admitting that his players lacked firepower,
Hoddle was relatively pleased with their performance.
"If it was a boxing match it would have been stopped," he said.
"I was pleased with all aspects of our play except for the finishing.
"Maybe in the cutting edge of a competitive game we would have found that finishing touch." n Martin O'Connor will be at the vanguard of a revamped Kidderminster Harriers lineup.
But the midfielder says Harriers' hopes of bouncing back from last term's relegation misery will depend as much on the fans as on a new squad which includes a dozen new players.
O'Connor, who joined as player-coach from Shrewsbury Town, knows exactly what to expect in the Conference, having been a key figure in the way the
Shrews clinched promotion at the first attempt after losing their League status.
O'Connor said: "I had experience of the Conference a couple of seasons ago at Shrewsbury and it's a big thing for any club that has got relegated to bounce back as soon as possible.
"We've got to get the mentality right. The fans' support is going to be a major influence on the shape of the season.
"I hope the fans can get behind the club because that was such a big part in Shrewsbury going back up."