ROVERS received the backing of around 300 fans during Friday’s friendly with Sparta Prague – some effort considering details of the game hadn’t been finalised until just 11 days before.

Among them was season-ticket holder Russ Prescott, whose family had made the journey from East Lancashire via the Rhine Valley, Munich and Innsbruck before descending on Salzburg.

The fans were in great voice throughout, and were able to mix with the Rovers players, and head coach Tony Mowbray, who were keen to show their gratitude for the support received.

“What better way to spend your summer holiday than a road trip through Europe visiting the Rhine Valley, the Black Forest, Munich and Innsbruck, with the ultimate destination being Salzburg to watch the Rovers,” Russ explained.

“The day itself was brilliant. It was good to see Tony Mowbray and the players mixing with the fans and thanking us for making the trip. 

“My son got (David) Raya’s gloves and shirt at the end so, for him, it was certainly a day to remember.”

Rovers may have fallen to a 1-0 defeat courtesy of Marc Janko’s 50th minute goal, but for Russ, and all of the travelling Blues, that didn’t damper their mood.

For much of the second half the Rovers fans went through their full repertoire of songs and chants, only adding to the great sense of occasion as their side more than held their own against Europa League opposition.

The sense of occasion was also heightened by Sparta midfielder, and Czech star Tomas Rosicky, posing for photos with Rovers fans well after the final whistle.

He added: “The result was irrelevant.  Whilst we lost 1-0, it was a good overall workout against a Sparta Prague team who could field the likes of Marc Janko and Tomas Rosicky.

“The signs are good for the season ahead; the new players seem to be settling in well, the passing was slick and we now seem to have a plan that involves more than just kick and run.

“For me, it’s crucial that we hold on to Darragh Lenihan, keep Corry Evans fit and add a pacey striker.  Hopefully Dominic Samuel will be that man.

“I left Salzburg nursing a hangover but with a renewed sense of optimism.

“See you all at York on Tuesday.”