TONY Mowbray felt it was a valuable exercise for his side despite slipping to a 1-0 defeat to Sparta Prague out in Austria.

Rovers fly back from Austria on Sunday with a week of hard training under their belts and 11 of the squad getting through at least an hour of action against Sparta.

Marc Janko’s goal decided what was a tightly contested game at the SAK-Sportanlage Nonntal stadium in which Rovers received the backing of around 300 fans.

Rovers were edged out by a Sparta side who resume their Europa League commitments with their third round qualifier later this month.

And Mowbray was pleased with what he saw from his side at the end of a valuable week away.

“I think it was a really good exercise,” he told the Lancashire Telegraph.

“I thought there were spells where we really good, but the 15 minute spell at the start of the second half they caused us a few problems.

“They scored the goal, but after that we had a few chances to get a goal ourselves.  Bradley had a chance one-on-one, Darragh (Lenihan) had a free header in the six yard box which he didn’t get any power on, but it was a good exercise and they worked really hard.

“It was what we came for to test ourselves.”

Rovers had several chances to level, the best of which fell to defender Darragh Lenihan, who, along with Elliott Bennett, completed the full 90 minutes.

Sparta are in front of Rovers in terms of their pre-season work, having played twice within the last week, and will play Kazah side Irtysh Pavlodar or Red Star Belgarade in the Europa League third qualifying round.

But Mowbray felt it was two evenly matched teams, adding: “I thought they stood up to it well, I don’t think there was a gulf there.

“Apart from that 10 minutes at the start of the second half when they really pressed on to us I thought we recovered well.

“The fitness side of it, they are further on than we are. I think that made a difference when we made the substitutions, I thought Corry (Evans) did fantastically well, generally it was a good workout for us.”

Rovers are continuing to work on a deal to bring Reading striker Dominic Samuel to the club and are hopeful of a positive conclusion in the coming days.

Trialist Paul Caddis played the final 19 minutes of yesterday’s friendly, replacing Ryan Nyambe at right-back.  Caddis, a free agent after leaving Bury at the end of the season, has trained with Rovers since they returned to pre-season training, including the full week away in Austria.

Mowbray will now make a decision over the 29-year-olds future as the head coach looks to further strengthen his squad following the additions of Peter Whittingham, Richie Smallwood, Bradley Dack and Ben Gladwin.

Keen to thank the fans who made the journey out to Austria, Mowbray said: “It was great to see people coming out and supporting their football club with the passion they have got.

“I thought the team performed reasonably well for them.

“It was a fairly tight football match, two decent teams, that had a feeling of a 0-0 about it really.

“Both teams were efficient at what they did, but they started the second half very fast, scored a goal but I thought after that we recovered well, created some good chances but just didn’t take them.”