Nigel Pearson was delighted to come through City’s opening game of pre-season with a clean bill of health after watching his side hit Ilkeston for six at the New Manor Ground on Tuesday night.
It was the first glimpse the Blue Army had of their heroes since last season’s incredible Championship triumph, and they didn’t disappoint, with Wes Morgan, Chris Wood, David Nugent and Tom Hopper finding the back of the net.
There were also first outings in a City shirt for summer signings Ben Hamer and Marc Albrighton, but for the manager it was more about the gradual building process of the pre-season programme rather than the result.
“It’s about a fitness exercise,” said Pearson at full-time. “And it’s a first outing for all the players out there in a competitive situation and its nice to get them all though 45 minutes each, but there’s still a large portion of pre-season remaining.
“We know about Ilkeston and they have a good academy here. It’s good to see a side like them making progress and it was the right sort of challenge for us tonight in the sense that we wanted to get players through the game without being overly competitive. It’s about building for the season start.
“It’s not necessarily about the fashion in which you win. We want the players to apply themselves correctly and I think they did tonight, so all in all a good first run out, but that’s all it is.”