ewport City Radio's brand new podcast SportHour brought up an interesting subject in its latest edition; would fans prefer the team to play attractive football with the risk of dropping points or play a more conservative, cautious game but ensure positive results?
This piece could have taken a different direction were it not for Padraig Amond's injury-time winner against Crewe, but that tap-in got me thinking; there's no circumstance in which winning a match can be a bad thing.
One of the highlights of last season was County's ability to get at other teams defences almost at will. The constant threat of Matt and Amond up front, flanked by Butler and Willmott was the root of many of the Exiles' goals last term. But for all this attacking prowess, they didn't get promoted.
There were numerous instances last season where the all-out, balls-to-the-wall approach had to be enhanced further to rescue just a single point. I remember, in particular, Jamille Matt's late home leveller against the then-basement boys Macclesfield and his last-gasp tap-in against Morecambe on the final day. Without these, amongst others, County wouldn't have got anywhere near the play-offs. But those were only so important because they played themselves into that position.
How many times did we think to ourselves that the defence was little better than "bang average" during the course of the season? Grimsby away? Yeovil at home? And in the midst of the individual mistakes made (and there were many of those), this can largely placed at the door of having too many players upfield during the defensive phase of play.
So what could be done about it?
Well it's clear to see that Mike Flynn's thinking over the summer was on his defensive line. Bringing in eight defenders (Howkins, Stojsavljevic, McNamara, Haynes, Leadbitter, Nurse, Ekpiteta and Inniss) as well as giving new deals to Demetriou and O'Brien should really have been the first clue that this season was always going to have a sharper focus on the displays of the rear guard.
A positive move, of course. When your bathroom develops a leak, you don't reach for the paint and decorate the living room, do you?
And who can argue with how that thinking has changed the team? Despite averaging just 42% of possession, County have conceded just two goals in the opening five matches, are unbeaten in the league and already (albeit very early in the season) find themselves fifth in the table having already played Mansfield Town and Plymouth Argyle.
In the modern game, where possession seems to rule the thinking, it takes a brave set of players (and coaching staff) to take on top sides in the division in the manner that County have done and come out with positive results. Also, Mickey Demetriou aside, the amount of injuries the squad has experienced to date is already reduced in comparison to last season, due to the lowered amount of energy expended.
Unfortunately, this style comes with an criticism from fans who want to be entertained by their team. Now of course, there is nothing wrong with that. But words such as "awful", "horrible" and "terrible" have no place so early in the campaign. Football is a results-based business, and while a more reserved approach is getting results, what's the problem?
Had County approached the opening five matches with the attacking gusto they showed last season, it is equally likely they could be occupying a relegation place rather than in the fledgling play-off picture. And it is important to remember how hard it is to play catch-up in an unforgiving league such as League Two.
That being said, it is a long season and I don't think that Flynn will continue with this pragmatic approach for the duration. As the season rolls on, it is likely that he will allow the team to express more freedom in their play and more expansive football will follow.
But be assured, if results go south as a result, Flynn won't hesitate to return to what, to this point, has got the job done.
So be patient, Exiles. Flynn's methods are new to us all and while they're not necessarily eye-catching, they're getting the job done. Remember when Celtic beat Barcelona 2-1 with 16% of the ball? The unbeaten streak will surely end eventually, but the pragmatic approach will continue to bear fruit for the time being.