Greg Halford could be given another opportunity to play in a holding midfield role after his impressive performance in the 2-2 draw at St Mary’s.
The versatile former Wolves man was pushed into midfield following George Thorne’s return to West Brom, with Joel Ward filling in at right-back as Michael Appleton shuffled his pack.
And the Blues boss felt the move worked well, while suggesting he may use the formation again.
Appleton said: ‘We had to be inventive with the team selection because of the players we’ve got out.
‘I felt we had to play with a 4-3-3 with two wider men because we felt we could get in behind their full-backs.
‘It stopped them playing out from the back as they like to do.
‘I felt Greg would be able to give us a bit more with his screening skills, similar to how George Thorne would.
‘Playing him in front of Rickie Lambert stopped a lot of the supply.
‘I felt we did that really well for an hour or so and then just dropped a bit deep in the second half.
‘But Greg did a fantastic job for us in that role.
‘He could possibly play there again. I’ve told the lads that they all have to be flexible and trust the coaching staff and management to pick the right team at the right time to play the right way.’
While the free-scoring Lambert was well patrolled, Appleton was unhappy Billy Sharp had been allowed to net twice.
‘We had to try to force them a little bit,’ he said.
‘We forced them to play the long balls to Lambert and Sharp for most of the 90 minutes.
‘We tried to press a bit higher than we normally would to stop their full-backs getting out. I think we did that.
‘We went with the three up top to start with and forced them to kick it long.
‘But we didn’t really deal with the ball into Lambert and Sharp well enough.
‘We were defending behind them instead of to the side.
‘They have got some really good qualities but the one thing they don’t have is any real pace and they are not going to run away from you.
‘I felt we had to play slightly differently to get something out of the game.
‘We went into the game thinking it would work and it did.’
– STEVE WILSON