Tony Mowbray felt his young side competed well and will take a lot from their friendly win at League Two side Mansfield Town.

Mowbray named a starting XI which included just two players, Joe Rothwell and captain for the night Richie Smallwood, over the age of 22, with a number of the Under-23s squad involved.

Ben Brereton and Lewis Travis were other more senior players in the side with Stewart Downing and Adam Armstrong, who scored the third goal late on, the only substitutes to be used.

Rovers led 2-0 thanks to an own goal and John Buckley close-range finish but had to weather plenty of Mansfield pressure which saw them get a goal back through Krystian Pearce before hitting the post. 

“I thought a young team competed really well against a side who are hoping to be in the top three to get out of League Two,” Mowbray said.

“They have a big ambition with a big, strong, physical team and for long spells I thought we managed it well, gave them some problems.

“It got a bit physical at times but that’s good for our young players because they need to know what it’s like if they are to have loans in League One and League Two they have to get used to the physicality and size and strength of the players they play against week in, week out.

“It was a good test for everyone and I'm pleased for them.”

A number of players didn’t travel to the One Call Stadium having featured in a behind closed doors game at Brockhall earlier in the day where two goals from Charlie Adam, who is still training with the club, gave them a 3-1 win.

New signing Sam Gallagher, as well as Ryan Nyambe and Harry Chapman, were among those players to feature.

“We had a game before with another young team,” Mowbray added.

“We’ve been training with 30-odd players and have three games this week so will start with a different 11 in every one and utilise the substitutes as and when.

“Players need 90 minutes so that’s what we have to try and do, get them as many minutes as we can.

“The young lads need games. Wharton, Platt, Chapman, young players need games and if they weren’t going to start then we need to find ways of getting them football.”

Danny Graham, Corry Evans and Elliott Bennett didn’t travel to Mansfield, but along with the likes of Darragh Lenihan, Charlie Mulgrew and Bradley Dack, who were unused substitutes, are expected to start in Sunday’s friendly at Rangers.

Explaining the trios absence, the boss added: “They weren’t going to play. They’ve had little knocks.

“They will all be available for Sunday at Ibrox so there was no point bringing them two-and-a-half hours down the road to sit on the bench and not play so we left them at home.

“Sam and Ryan will travel. There will only be two weeks to go until the new season this weekend so we have to start bringing our group together.

“The squad we are working with will drop from 32 to low 20s and that will be after the weekend and get towards focusing on a team that will start against Charlton at home.”