TONY Mowbray was delighted to welcome back some familiar, and some new, faces as Rovers pre-season began in earnest.

The players reported back on Wednesday for some fitness testing, before heading out on to the Brockhall pitches for a double session on Thursday.

In their new-look yellow training gear, the Rovers players were put through their paces with just over five weeks to go until their League One opener at Southend United on August 5.

Mowbray has been busy himself this summer, first heading off to India to meet with owners Venky’s as he agreed to stay on as Rovers boss before signing a new two-year deal.

Since then he has moved to bring in four players, Peter Whittingham, Richie Smallwood, Bradley Dack and Ben Gladwin.

And although there is plenty of work still to do on the negotiating table, as Mowbray looks to add to his ranks, he was delighted to welcome the players back this week.

He added: “It’s great to see them in the building.

“The interaction, seeing some new faces, it sparks things up and sometimes a new face in the building gets everyone going.

“Players want to show how good they are, the new players want to show how good they are, it just sparks it all up.

“They are all buzzing, they have all got tans and talking about their holidays, where they have been, talked about the football they’ve been watching on the TV, so we’re back to work.

“We have another 300 days of it but we’re looking forward to it immensely.”

The group included Corry Evans as the midfielder battles back from a long-standing groin problem which saw him make just one substitute appearance in the whole of 2017.

The Northern Ireland international has been working hard on his fitness throughout the summer and was able to join in with the rest of the squad.

Charlie Mulgrew also joined up with his team-mates despite his international commitments with Scotland during the close season as he played 90 minutes in the 2-2 draw with England on June 10.