>Saunders Tinkers to Good Effect

>I’m finding the Dean Saunders experiment fascinating. You can see exactly what he’s doing-frankly this is the first time since Denis Smith was boss when I can sit and watch us and see what we’re looking to do, which has surely got to be a good thing! The pieces aren’t fitting together yet, which is totally understandable as Saunders has only just got his feet under the manager’s desk and has had no chance to really sort out the squad and make it his own. Yet while he tinkers and looks to find the different parts of the puzzle, he’s getting results, which can’t be bad!

The clearest clue to how Saunders wants his team to play can be seen in the type of midfielders he has brought in. Joe Allen, Angelos Tsiaklis, Nathan Fairhurst and Nathan Woolfe could all have been turned out of the same mould; neat, tidy little midfield ball-players who like to be busy and work the ball to feet. There was one passage of play at Weymouth which, I’ll bet, delighted Saunders. Fairhurst, Tsiaklis and Woolfe worked a lovely little one-touch triangle down the left and nearly carved the home defence apart, but Fairhurst’s eventual through ball was overhit.

The flipside is that they’re all a little lightweight. Interestingly, Saunders admitted after the game that he was worried about exactly that issue. Yet he still chose to bring the two new men in this week and play them rather than the more robust Levi Mackin. As I said, the pieces don’t all fit together yet, but isn’t it great that as Saunders experiments we keep winning?

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