BLACKBURN Rovers boss Gary Bowyer believes a week training in the red-hot heat of the Algarve will make his closely-knit squad even tighter.
The Rovers players are four days into their warm-weather camp in Portugal and if it was their manager’s intention to put them through their paces in testing conditions then he has certainly got his wish.
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Temperatures have been hitting the mid 30s but Bowyer has been delighted by how his squad have responded to the challenge and the growing bond between them.
“We’re having double sessions and, as you would expect on a camp, the lads are working very, very hard,” said Bowyer, speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph from the Algarve.
“They are getting better and better in terms of their fitness levels but also in terms of the patterns of play that we have been working on.
“As I have said previously the shape and condition they kept themselves in over the summer has enabled us to crack on with the football straight away.
“We’ve worked on our shape and in the 11 v 11 games we’ve had, the lads have looked very impressive.
“But most pleasing has been the spirit between the players. They are getting tighter and tighter and that is going to be vitally important throughout the season.
“We’ve had a good few days so far and now we’ve got to finish it off properly.”
Jason Lowe, Tommy Spurr and Chris Brown all missed Saturday’s pre-season opener at Telford United, which Rovers won 4-0, with knocks.
Midfielder Lowe has resumed full training but defender Spurr and new striker Brown are yet to fully recover and, as things stand, they are unlikely to be risked in Wednesday’s friendly at neighbours Accrington Stanley (7.45pm).
“Lowey has trained every session since we’ve got here, which proved it was sensible for him to sit it out against Telford,” said Bowyer, who expects Spurr and Brown to return for the trip to Bradford on Saturday week.
“Tommy’s getting nearer to coming back into the main group and he’s looking very strong in running while Chris is dipping in and out and getting nursed along,” added Bowyer.
Transfer-listed duo Leon Best and Jordan Slew were the only senior Rovers players to be left out of the trip to Portugal.
The out-of-favour forwards have been left behind at Brockhall in case they are subjects to bids from other clubs.
It is understood that Best, who was on target against Telford, has been attracting interest.
But as of yet Rovers have yet to receive a firm offer – either for a permanent or loan deal – for the 27-year-old.