Megson looks for flexibility Jul 6 2004
By Chris Lepkowski, Evening Mail
Gary Megson believes his summer signings may need to become "flexible friends" during the course of the season - as he prepares to welcome back his players for pre-season training.
Albion players return from their summer break tomorrow, boosted by the arrivals of Riccardo Scimeca, Martin Albrechtsen and Darren Purse.
One of Scimeca's strengths is his ability to play in defence or midfield, with other players within the ranks - notably Sean Gregan and Neil Clement - also capable of playing in different roles.
Megson, who has generally opted for a 3-5-2 style, has made no secret of his preference for a 4-4-2 system, but he believes the key to Albion's survival may be their ability to change from one match to the next.
"We tried last year to change the formation," said Megson.
"We set in pre-season playing differently to how we finished the previous season and it didn't look right. So we changed it and went with three centre-halves.
"Experiment isn't the right word but we will be trying to do things a little bit differently.
"However, it's not set in stone - if it doesn't look right we will change things again.
"That's why we are looking at different players because we want to be adaptable.
"We did that last year, which is something the players deserve great credit for."
The Baggies players will return to training tomorrow, before they jet off for the three-game tour of Denmark in a fortnight, followed by three more friendlies on home soil.
Andy Johnson will be starting his third pre-season at the club so knows the demands on him and his colleagues.
"Pre-season is difficult whichever club you're with but it is tough here," said the Wales midfielder.
"The gaffer places a lot of importance on it but we know we've got to be fit and strong for the demands of the season.
"It will be gruelling but you can guarantee the lads will all be geared up and ready for it."