"We've got a DNA to us!" Why Craig Elliott is enjoying watching his Boston United side again

Manager makes formation change after some soul searching
United's Keenan Ferguson is relishing his new role. Photo: Oliver AtkinUnited's Keenan Ferguson is relishing his new role. Photo: Oliver Atkin
United's Keenan Ferguson is relishing his new role. Photo: Oliver Atkin

Craig Elliott admits he's enjoying watching his Boston United side again.

The pragmatic Pilgrims have been in and around the play-of spots for most of the National League North season, but so often grinding out results.

However, manager Elliott says his side have been looking more pleasing on the eye in recent weeks - and it's making his job a lot more fun.

"I think we've been good for the past month," he said after today's 4-1 FA Trophy win over Kidderminster Harriers.

"We've got a DNA to us. I like watching, I wouldn't have said that six or seven weeks ago.

"We were effective and getting results but now we look exciting.

"It was a good win and a deserved win and I'm really pleased to get into the next round."

The reason for the change in style has been a switch in formation, first implemented in the 2-2 draw with Chorley.

Moving to a 3-5-2 line-up, the Pilgrims have been able to get the best out of their wing backs, feeding the strikers but maintaining a solidity in the centre of the park.

The move has paid off with victories against Darlington, Brackley, Kettering and Kidderminster following - last week's 2-1 defeat to Harriers the only reverse so far.

For Elliott, it took some soul searching, but he's happy with the results.

"I had to go away and have a good think and, as a manager, be flexible and adaptable," Elliott continued.

"It's not a formation I've played on a regular basis, so I had to coach myself if I'm being honest. I needed to get the best out of the players.

"We tried 4-4-2 but we looked open. This way gets Keenan (Ferguson) forward and keeps bodies in midfield.

"Signing players like Kyron (Gordon), who's good on the ball have helped."

But it hasn't just been the Pilgrims boss who's had to be adaptable to make this new formation work.

Elliott continued: "We've worked on that this week, getting centre backs into the box and overlapping,

"Some of these younger lads are used to that, they've been at clubs that do it so they fit in naturally. Some of the older lads need convincing a bit.

"I want to win games and last week I was disappointed (to lose to Kidderminster), but this week it's been nice to win again."

One player who has noticeably improved in the new line-up has been Ferguson, the former Tottenham Hotspur and Sheffield United loanee relishing the attacking role of a wing back and the added comfort of a back three to sit in behind him.

"That's to do with formation. In a four you worry you're leaving space behind," Elliott said.

"In this formation you can get forward more. I'm on at him a lot as I think he needs to work on his final ball into the box, he gets in good positions.

"If he can start adding assists and goals he'll be areal find."

Danny Elliott (two), Jake Wright jnr and Jordan Preston netted for Boston today.

However, a calf injury to Jordan Burrow took some of the gloss off the contest.

"It looks like he's torn his calf so it could be a bad one," Elliott said.

"That's the only disappointment over the last few weeks, losing Paul Green and now Jordan."

MORE PILGRIMS: United 4 Harriers 1 - report