It was great to bring the curtain down on our pre-season with a very good performance against Premier League opposition.
Stoke City were by far and away the toughest test we have faced in our build-up to the league campaign getting underway next week and I thought we more than held our own against an established top flight team.
We were in front – thanks to Adam Le Fondre’s great goal - for a large portion of the contest and only two late goals denied us a win.
That said, it was a great game of football and the performance was very pleasing going into the Leeds United game next Sunday.
Pre-season as a whole has given the manager Phil Parkinson and his staff plenty of food for thought.
As well as allowing our new signings to gel, it also has given us an opportunity to cast our eye over some of the younger players within our ranks, some of whom will get a chance to make their professional debuts over the course of the season.
There has been a great deal of commentary over the past few days concerning the sustainability of the monies currently being spent on players in the Premier League and Championship.
I fully endorse the view that it is not sustainable and over the last few months, we have been working hard towards getting ourselves in a position to achieve a sustainable business plan going forward.
When l look at our squad costs for this coming season, we now have one of the lowest budgets in the Sky Bet Championship and compared to our budgets for the past two seasons, we have made great headway in replacing the 'big hitters' with more affordable players without sacrificing the quality needed for the challenges ahead.
I also believe we now have a better balanced squad and cover in all positions.
That said, if we had the financial resources of the recently-relegated Premier League clubs, we would be in a position to bring in even more players. Like Mick McCarthy at Ipswich said, it’s a position we would love to have been in!
It was a shame that we had to loan Ben Amos out, but unfortunately, as our most expensive player, it made prudent financial sense, even though the loan fee only goes a short way to covering his costs.
With three other keepers in the squad, Ben’s going makes football sense as well as it frees up another much-needed squad place.
We all wish Ben well for the season and in my opinion, it's important that he gets game time this season.
In the meantime, we are all continuing to look to improve the depth and quality of the squad and I am confident of three or four more signings in the coming weeks before the window closes.
It’s just a week until our opening game of the Sky Bet Championship when Leeds United visit Macron Stadium for a match in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
Everybody connected with the club is looking forward to this fixture and there is an air of excitement around the town.
Tickets and hospitality are still available for this game and can be purchased online by visiting here.
Season tickets sales are already ahead of the last two seasons we spent in the Championship and there is still time for you to make big savings when compared to buying tickets on a match by match basis. If you haven’t already done so, please purchase yours by clicking here.
Let’s continue to make Macron Stadium a fortress where our opponents are greeted by a constant cauldron of noise. Let your passion for the club shine as you get behind the lads from kick-off until final whistle.
Let’s be loud, let’s be proud and let’s get Macron Stadium rocking.