Now that we have over 100 foundation trusts, it is appropriate to set a moment aside for the less fortunate among us: those who have yet to experience the thrills of the 'board to board' meeting with Monitor.

Of all the splendours of foundation trust applications, none has accumulated anywhere near the baggage of mythology as the B2B.

There is no shortage of new ideas doing the rounds. One of the latest is to turn up wearing Dundee United shirts - a nod to the preferences of a senior figure at Monitor, I believe. As this has not been through a randomised control trial, I cannot recommend it yet.

There are some management consultants out there who will offer, for a fee, to get your board team through the B2B fixture playing like Brazil in 1970 - even if they are currently only at the level of a Sunday morning pub team. I will not profess to having such coaching skills, but I can offer a few pieces of guidance.

Don't underestimate the number of dress rehearsals you need. One will never be enough; three is arguably about right, including one pretty close to the big day.

And don't mix up board development with shadow B2Bs. Your board will need a decent number of "protected time" sessions to get its collective head around your integrated business plan.

Monitor is not about trick questions, but it does want to assure itself that your board can be trusted as a local first line of regulation that can constructively challenge on an informed basis.

Another myth is that Monitor wants all non-executive directors to have five years' board-level experience with a city finance institution. While you must of course send in a board team who understand 2008 NHS dynamics, and while some trusts have to strengthen their line-ups during the course of the application process, I would counsel against dramatic nights of the long knives.

I think Monitor wants to see boards who understand and have ownership of the trust's values and strategy - this cannot just be cooked up by a management consultant and swallowed whole by the board in the middle of the application process.

Project directors need to do some fear management. Board members might feel they need a 568-page Q&A briefing covering any issue that could be raised. But unless they have very unusual learning methods, this is the worst thing with which you could burden them.

If your board has a sound understanding of the risk section of their integrated business plan, you are off to a good start.

At the risk of one final sporting analogy, if you reach the B2B and feel you need to hit the ball out of the ground to stay in the game, your application is probably in more trouble than it can cope with.

You need to be in a position where you can put in a solid performance and avoid getting stumped. The B2B is not a place to try out fancy tactics for the first time.