GARY Rowett was pleased with the performance of his Burton Albion side as they showed moments of quality in a 1-0 defeat to Derby County last night.
The Brewers were beaten at the Pirelli Stadium by Jeff Hendrick's goal before half-time, but fought hard to stay in the game.
They created some decent chances and their performance bodes well ahead of the big kick-off a week on Saturday.
New signings Stuart Beavon and Lucas Akins in particular caught the eye, while George Taft looks a real prospect at left-back.
"I thought it was excellent," said Albion boss Gary Rowett. "You're looking for little improvements from the games we've had.
"It's not always easy against excellent opposition, but in the first half for 33 minutes we looked very good and got into some good attacking positions.
"If we had got some shots off with more power and more purpose we would have scored one or two of them."
After Hendrick scored, the Rams hit the woodwork twice as Burton found Johnny Russell in particular hard to deal with.
But after going behind, the Brewers stayed in the game and had some decent moments where they could have grabbed an equaliser.
"I was really pleased with how we counter-attacked and ran into those spaces," said Rowett.
"Against Derby, a team who were a kick away from the Premier League last season, you're always going to have periods without the ball.
"But our shape was good and we've stayed resilient."
Albion continue against higher level opposition with the visit of Premier League Stoke City to the Pirelli on Saturday.