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Five Things: Fleetwood Town 2-0 Bolton Wanderers

What can we take from our first loss of pre-season

Bolton Wanderers v Preston North End - Pre-Season Friendly Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

1 - Does it matter that we lost?

Despite the joys of victory and being able to look back at pre-season positively, its not necessarily always the best case scenario for a newly-promoted club like us. There are several theories regarding pre-season results and its's correspondence with league standings which begs the question whether the loss really was even a bad thing. I think it's good to have a mixed bag of results, regardless of how demoralising pre-season losses can be to lower-league sides and it will also ensure that there aren't unrealistic expectations from fans ahead of what proves to be a difficult season. As much as Fleetwood celebrated like they'd won the league, flares and all, the victory in itself was very meaningless and our loss could turn out to be our gain in the long term, so in a word, no.

2 - How important a consistent system and team chemistry is

It was clear in Saturday;s game that a major part of our downfall was in fact the experimental system adopted by Parkinson which I'm sure will be noted and dealt with accordingly ahead of the Stockport game on Tuesday, an easy fix by all accounts, but one thing that isn't so easy to fix is the team chemistry. With the introduction of so many new faces this summer, integrating them into the team hasn't been as simple as seasons previously. This is something which I hope will be worked on in the training ground so that the players can establish a good relationship with one another, particularly between the existing and new boys so that we can figure out a system which works for all parties. Having barely changed the team last season, consistency seemed to be the key, maintaining that this season could be crucial in our efforts to survive and beyond this coming season.

3 - Where was the new kit?

Many of the fans who travelled to the game were querying why we weren't playing in one of the new strips. From what I understand, the contract for the new kit begins on August 1st so, until then, I presume we will continue to wear the supposedly cursed blue strip, which I understand is now the third kit for this season and will presumably be phased out once the new kits are introduced at the Leeds game.

4 - How many strikers should we play with and who?

I mentioned this in my five things for the Fylde game and needs to be looked at once again by the looks of it. At Fylde we started with last season's pairing Adam Le Fondre and Gary Madine which was probably the best decision for all parties, their lack of service, however, made it look less so. With the pair themselves eliminated from the blame for this, the big man and the goalscorer still looks like our best option. On Saturday, Gary started with Sammy Ameobi and Will Buckley either side of him. This combination didn't work at all despite the early introductions of Alfie and Armstrong who could also work as a pairing or even along side Madine as a forward three. As much as I'd like to speculate, I trust Parky to know what he's doing and will come up with the right solution before the season begins.

5 - The desperate need to replace Jay Spearing

One of our weakest areas on the pitch on Saturday was in front of the back three, five, whatever you want to call it. Vela was playing far too deep for my liking and his I'm sure whilst Karacan was struggling upon his return from an injury which he picked up on Tuesday. The late introduction of Darren Pratley didnt help the situation much either. The issue is becoming a huge elephant in the room which needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Again, I trust us to get it sorted, but a replacement for a player of his calibre, mentality, leadership and fight is going to be hard to duplicate. With rumours of a move for West Ham's Josh Cullen recently gone off the boil and the recent links with Jason Lowe which hasn't been met with an overly enthusiastic reaction suggests that there is still work to be done, even if it means Spearing takes a pay cut and returns, as unlikely as that may seem, it may become our only option. The position is one which can't afford to be left vacant and once again, I hope we can get a deal in place for someone or himself, and fast.

Any other points which you think ought to be addressed off the back of the weekend's game, feel free to let us know in the comments below.