Curbishley sees the positives

Alan Curbishley is delighted with the form being shown by his squad after another impressive pre-season display on Wednesday night.

Craig Bellamy took the headlines with two goals early and late in the first half but there were good performances across the pitch. Valon Behrami showed up well at right-back on his debut with Lucas Neill also strong in the left-back role. Matthew Upson and Anton Ferdinand were reunited in the centre of defence for the first time since 12 April while Mark Noble and Scott Parker were a solid midfield duo. Robert Green also underlined his form with a couple of great saves.

The manager said: "The first half was as quick a game as I have seen for a long while. We got off to a great start with scoring early but I think the first 45 minutes was really competitive. I think you had everything there for both teams. Greeny's had to make some saves and we looked good when we attacked." Curbishley added that George McCartney and Lee Bowyer are training while the ill Dean Ashton should have recovered by the weekend to figure in either the Southampton or Ipswich games on Friday and Monday respectively.

James Tomkins is also looking good after a knee knock on England Under-19 duty and Luis Boa Morte and Matthew Etherington continue to be eased back in after minor foot troubles following their first 45 minutes of pre-season action last Thursday. "We are pleased with what has happened so far," said Curbishley. It is tough coming back from the American trip. Coming home some of us were still suffering a little but we got over it [against Peterborough]."

There was particular praise for the progress of Julien Faubert, Parker and Bellamy with Curbishley hoping his team will create enough chances for the strikers to score at least 30 goals this coming season. "We know we have got pace all over the park. We can counterattack and we can defend when we have got to. Parker came back and blocked shots. Centre-halves blocked stuff. It was a good work-out." Added into the mix is new signing Valon Behrami, who began his club career at right-back.

"He is a great athlete and he got involved," said Curbishley. He kept streaking down the line. We are pleased to have got him. He is a versatile player. He can play right-back, can play wide right and can play centre midfield and has played wide left. He is one of those players with a great attitude. I think he could be a great asset."