BLACKBURN Rovers boss Gary Bowyer cannot wait for the ‘real stuff’ to get started after his side rounded off their preparations for the new Championship season with a 1-1 draw at home to Mark Hughes’ Stoke City at Ewood Park yesterday.

Rovers kick off their league campaign at home to Cardiff City on Friday.

And they will go into the big season opener on the back of an unbeaten pre-season programme which culminated with an evenly fought clash against a Stoke side managed by former Rovers player and manager Mark Hughes.

Jordan Rhodes opened the scoring with an expertly taken header but the Premier League outfit ensured honours ended even with an equally impressive finish from their big summer signing Bojan Krkic.

And Bowyer said: “I’m not a fan of pre-season friendlies but they serve a purpose and we knew today would be a really good test and I thought our lads stood up very well to it as Stoke have got some quality.

“The lads put in a really good shift, worked very, very hard, and managed to score a very good goal.

“But it’s over now and now we can fully focus on Cardiff and get ready for the real stuff.”