What can we take from this bore draw that wasn't so boring?
1 - Should we worry that we can't beat a non-league side?
Having won three of the four games we've played so far, to assume that it's poor that we couldn't beat Fylde isn't something to be concerned about. Each game has seen a different side start and has meant that there are numerous players that haven't played with each other before and with no clear indication of which of them Parkinson will start against Leeds, the squad needs time to develop and build up chemistry with one another to a point where its unforgivable, then you can worry. It's also important to consider that Fylde are on the up having won the National League North, as are we, meaning desire to win is even and this game was never going to be a walkover. On paper, realistically, yes, we should be beating them, but the real test will be against Fleetwood on Saturday as that will give us an idea of how well we've recruited, how we've trained, how we've developed post league one and whether we can beat a relatively strong League One side as that will tell us how well we've prepared for life in the Championship against better opposition than those who we played last season.
2 - New Signings
Since our last game, the addition of Adam Armstrong and Sammy Ameobi have been crucial to help strengthen our team and add some depth to the whole sqaud. Both players were excellent last night and really showed what they can do with each coming very close to scoring. Adam Armstrong particularly impressed me and will definitely be part of Parkinson's plans for the opening day and will look to utilise him as much as possible and then look to extent the deal come January should he impress. Being more than capable in the Championship according to Newcastle fans and with a move to us being ideal, hopefully we can see each of them link up well with their old Newcastle team mate much more this season.
3 - Trialist Appearance (Alex Bruce)
A surprise appearance from Alex Bruce last night was met by mixed reactions in the stands and online. Having not been previously linked with the defender, Bruce has clearly just been given the chance to impress for the week by Parkinson and may feature again against Fleetwood on Saturday. His performance at centre back was average and nothing particularly notable to report on, but in a way, thats a good thing, however, it will ultimately depend on what Parkinson is looking for and if he can fulfil that role which is already so saturated along that back line.
4 - Youth Players
I'm a big believer in giving the younger lads game time and a chance to prove themselves, particularly in games like these as it gives them a fair crack at the whip, with non-league opposition becoming a common occurrence on our pre-season fixture lists and Parkinson is giving them every chance to prove their worth. This time round, Perry, Brockbank and King played, King being the better of the three in terms of contribution and has notably since had recognition from Parkinson for just that. The other two have previously impressed which saw Perry feature in league fixtures last season and Brockbank given his chance in earlier games this pre-season which saw him grab a brace against Chorley. I hope that we'll see more of them before the season starts and will even feature in some cup games and potentially even league games this coming season.
5 - Strike Force Options For The Opening Game
With four different strike options and a system which only usually fits one or two in, Parky will have a tough decision in deciding which of his forwards he will go with against a tough Leeds opposition. With ALF having played out wide in Scotland, we may see Madine start on his own up front with Armstrong on the bench. With us seeming to struggle without Madine, it seems like he may have to start as a lone striker with Vela behind and Alf and either Ameobi or Morais on the other wing. Armstrong would be a brilliant impact sub which also makes me think it will be Madine on his own, infront of three attacking midfielders consisting of Alf somewhere in behind Madine, but it remains to be seen.
Let me know what other points you'd pick out of the Fylde game and what we should be considering and debating ahead of the new season in terms of matchplay, squad rotation and the use of youngsters in the comments below.