Rich Sharpe's tour diary from Rovers' trip to Austria.

SITTING on the sidelines in the pouring Austrian rain watching Rovers train might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

But for this reporter, the opportunity to spend time watching Tony Mowbray and his players working on the shape of the team was fascinating.

Turning up to watch a game at 3pm on a Saturday, you can sometimes overlook the work that has gone in to preparing for it during the week.

Just to observe Mowbray talking his players through what he was looking for from them in different areas of the pitch, and the fine details of how each movement can create space, was a real footballing education and a morning well spent.


AS WELL as the team shape, there was also time spent working on set plays.  Peter Whittingham whipping them in from the right, Craig Conway from the left.

To keep Charlie Mulgrew off set plays, you must have a good left foot, and in Whittingham, Rovers certainly have that man.

It’s no fluke, and comes after hours of practice, that he’s able to land the ball in a near perfect spot time and again.

With Mulgrew now able to turn his focus to getting on the end of set plays, joining the likes of Danny Graham, Derrick Williams, Darragh Lenihan and Ben Gladwin in the box, Rovers could be a real force from set plays next season.


WHILE some of the senior players were making their way back to the hotel after an hour-long session, a number of the club’s youngsters were taking pot-shots at goal.

Sadly, the cameras were switched off, and the audience depleted, as Willem Tomlinson fired a Cristiano Ronaldo-esque strike from all of 35 yards which nestled in to the stanchion of the goal.

He soon turned around to see who had witnessed it, but apart from a media pack of two, first-team coach David Lowe and members of the backroom staff, it largely went unnoticed.

Here’s hoping it’s one he can replicate in the first-team colours in the not too distant future.