AT face value, there was a perverse whiff of irony to Paul Lambert's terse pre-match comments ahead of Saturday's victory at Burton Albion.

Last season, the Scot developed an uncanny knack of being unswervingly positive and optimistic - at a time when there was precious little to be upbeat about.

On Friday, however, the polar opposite applied.

With fans feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and hopeful about the campaign ahead, Lambert's agitated, snappy demeanour would have sucked the life out of even the most buoyant supporter.

It begged the question, what on earth sparked such irritation?

Clearly, the Town boss has been frustrated by his side's inability to get transfer dealings over the line in recent days and weeks.

But his comments suggested something more deep-rooted - possibly tension with owner Marcus Evans.

His downbeat, barbed soundbites - “you work it out for yourself - they're not coming and that's the way it is"; “I'm not happy with the situation and the way things are" and "we can't sit here and say it's right what's happening” - hardly got the pulse pounding ahead of Saturday's curtain-raiser. Just the opposite.

So how exhilarating that his team, against the odds when you consider the context and elongated list of walking wounded, started with a victory - and clean sheet - at the Pirelli Stadium.

I wasn't at the match - I was reporting on a non-league game instead - but, from what I've heard and read, two things stuck out, aside from the scoreline.

First, the performance of Luke Woolfenden.

What a talent the young defender is - perhaps, undeservedly, overlooked compared to some of the club's more eye-catching, headline-grabbing attacking talent.

I hope he keeps his place for next week's mouth-watering home match against Sunderland, despite skipper Luke Chambers being available to face the Black Cats.

It would be sad and unjust if he slides back down the pecking order - just as happened last season after an impressive opening-day showing against Blackburn Rovers.

Second, I approved of the formation and am an advocate of the trusty 4-4-2.

Perhaps I'm just old-fashioned but it seems logical to me, rather than running the risk of one target man becoming shackled and isolated.

Instead, give two frontmen the chance to work in tandem, gel and forge a partnership and understanding.

I believe it can work and would love to see more of James Norwood and Kayden Jackson together.

How uplifting to start with a victory, despite a crippling injury list and frustration with the transfer policy.

Remember, Town were without Messrs Chambers, Nsiala, Bishop, Dozzell, Lankester, Nolan and Sears on Saturday (and the returning Alan Judge and Emyr Huws were only considered fit enough for the bench).

Yes, it's only one game but it bodes well and reinforces the belief that they have enough talent and clout to make a successful fist of life in League One.

It's encouraging and inspiring, helping the pre-match deflation turn to post-match elation. Just what the doctor ordered.