IF I was Gary Bowyer I would start with the same team that finished last season in tomorrow’s first friendly of the summer at Telford.
The players who had the shirts on did really well, going 12 games unbeaten, so if they are all fit, available and performing in training, then I think you’ve got to turn around to them and say, ‘out you go, you’re my starting XI’.
They set the marker.
If you were being picky you would say that they conceded too many goals. But as a team they played really well and I think it’s only fair to ask them to carry on where they left off.
That said results are not the most important thing to take out of pre-season. It’s all about getting your match fitness up.
You can train and train and train but there’s nothing better than getting out there on the field in order to get ready for that first game.
Training is important, though, and I see Blackburn will be heading off to the Algarve for a week straight after the Telford game.
It’s not bad for some – we never quite made it to the Algarve in my day! The best we got to was the Isle of Man tournament.
But all joking aside it’s a good way for the lads to bond. Whenever we used to go away, whether it was before the start of a season or mid-season in January, we always found it to be a good way to grow closer and get to know each other a lot better.
And, particularly mid-season, when we came back from trips we tended to go on a bit of a run.
The good thing about Rovers this season is that they already seem to have a fairly tight-knit group.
They know what each other can do, Gary knows what they can do and hopefully they will make a good start to the season in a month’s time.
Key to that will not be picking up any injuries in pre-season. Blackburn really suffered with injuries last season and they cannot afford a repeat of them as they really disrupted Gary’s plans.
It doesn’t mean the players should take it easy in the friendlies – they need to put 100 per cent in – but they do have to be careful.