Lee Clark believes that Birmingham City are heading in the right direction.
As the countdown begins to the new season – Blues kick off in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday – the manager is pleased with the way preparations are going.
Blues. last friendly is on Saturday against Royal Antwerp at St Andrew’s. Whether Clark will pick what he deems to be his first choice XI is unclear, due to the Barnet match coming quickly afterwards.
But with the new players settling in well and Blues cutting loose and scoring goals – 10 from their last two warm-ups – the signs are positive.
Clark said: “I think we have really kicked on a level in terms of the quality of finishing, the final ball, shot and cross.
“Some of goals we scored at Plymouth Argyle would have been difficult to stop by any team.
“It wasn’t just the clinical finishing, but the build-up play.
“I’m delighted with the way it’s gone over the last few weeks.
“I’m delighted with the application and the attitude of the group, the quality we have seen, but we do know there is room for improvement.
“We’re not getting over excited about it.
“It’s pre-season. We start proper on Tuesday against Barnet in the League Cup and we certainly realise we’re not the finished article as a group. There are still things for us to work on.”
Blues 5-0 victory at Home Park came on the back of a 5-1 mauling of Bury at Gigg Lane. It has raised the question whether such games have actually been too easy for Blues.
“No one was probably thinking that the Saturday before at Cheltenham Town when it wasn’t going our way,” responded Clark. You have got to give our lads credit, they have produced performances and have scored goals.”
The 1-0 reverse to the Robins was Blues’ only defeat in five warm-ups so far. They have won all the rest.
The line-up at Plymouth was probably the one Clark considers his first choice starting XI, at least initially.
Into the mix now, however, are Ravel Morrison and Jack Butland after Team GB’s Olympic Games exit.
“I’m pushing the players all the time,” said Clark.
“I’m close to it, but if someone produces in training and over the course of the weekend, they might force their way into the reckoning as well.
“Certainly this line-up, we’ve gone out and scored ten goals the last two games, which is exceptional.”
Nathan Redmond netted two excellent goals last Saturday and has come into the picture as a starter on the left in Blues’ last couple of matches.
And Clark said he saw Morrison, the loan addition from West Ham United, as an attacking central midfielder.