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The Yesterday Men

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Written off in the past, present, and probably future - but Danns and Moxey are finally up to standard

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Before Friday nights game, I decided I'd have been happy with a point. In the end, we can count ourselves lucky to have taken one.

Bolton Wanderers were the only team trying to play football for the Sky TV cameras last night, but to be successful in this game I'm led to believe that the sphere they kick needs to cross the white line with the netting behind it.

For all of our efforts in trying to play a decent style of football, our play in the final third is nothing more than shocking. Why Gary Madine decided to cut back and slide the ball to the edge of the box (with not a Bolton player in sight) when he had a clear chance on goal is beyond me. He's lacking in confidence, and more fundamentally, quality.

However, I want to distance myself from the negative aspects of yesterday's game, and focus on the positives. Neil Lennon is spot on when he says that we'd have lost that game last season - which we did, to a late Jordan Rhodes goal. The mental hoodoo of conceding late goals appears to be waning, and we have a few new and not-so-new faces to thank for it.

Ben Amos has picked up where he left off last season - particularly refreshing is his confidence when coming out to claim long balls, which Blackburn Rovers are famous for. Prince played very well, but in a similar way to Raidi Jaidi and Mark Fish before him, he looks like he has a mistake in him; so far my fears have been unfounded. Dorian Dervite was superb, and was one less silly lunge away from a man of the match performance. Lawrie Wilson does his defensive duties very well - no frills defending. I like it.

What pleases me more than anything is to see two players that I have written off playing to a level we hoped they could. Step forward Neil Danns and Dean Moxey.

In my post-match ratings, I gave both an 8, although the decision to give Danns such a high rating has already had a backlash on Twitter.

For me, Danns' reputation will some fans is irreparable. He can't do right for doing wrong with some. Last night, he showed exactly why there is a place for him in the starting line up, particularly away from home. He broke up play time and again, worked his socks off when not in possession (as always), and played simple balls to those around him more comfortable with the ball at their feet.

With Danns' performances improving, Mark Davies has been able to press forward from a deep midfield position, trying to add some class to proceedings in the final third. In my opinion, he needs to be deployed in a more advanced position, where he can make things happen, as he did in the first stages of the game where he was wrongly denied a penalty. Josh Vela and Darren Pratley are technically better footballers, but there is still room for Danns in our match day squad, particularly against the uglier teams like Rovers.

Dean Moxey looks unrecognisable from the player who arrived under Douglas Freedman's management.

Moxey was nothing short of brilliant last night - first to every loose ball, strong in the air, and economical on the ball, he was my man of the match once again, just as he was against Derby County in the season opener. Wellington Silva, as promising as he looks going forward, offers little in supporting his full back defensively (as shown both last night and against Nottingham Forest), but Moxey seems comfortable flying solo.

I'd previously put him down as our worst player in the Lion of Vienna Suite season predictions for the Whites this season (I believe the term "cab horse" was used), and he has already proven me wrong. He's one of the first names on the team sheet at the minute, and is thriving under new boss Neil Lennon.

Tim who?

So far, it hasn't been our new recruits, but existing players who had previously been written off, that have contributed to the minor improvements in our play this term.

Amos and Prince have been very good so far, Wellington is showing promise, Wilson is providing solidity at right back, and Gary Madine is, well, Gary Madine. The less said about him the better.

It is our improving players, Danns, Moxey and Dervite that are playing a far more positive role in the squad, and taking those defensive baby steps towards a brighter (we hope) season for the Wanderers. I just wish we could say the same about Liam Feeney.

All we need to do is find a striker that can actually put the ball in the back of the net, and we might just be alright this year.

Might.