The only thing that felt new was the  kit as similar failings blighted Rovers.

Endless possession but a lack of a clinical edge, and struggling to find a way to get back into games when going behind, were evident again, as were unavailability issues, as they fell to a comprehensive defeat at League Two side Bradford City.

Rovers started well having been shown lots of respect by their League Two hosts - but from the moment they sensed the visitors may be a little fragile, they stepped on the gas to run out deserved victors.

But the worries and concerns go deeper, and beyond simply the performance in a pre-season friendly.

The fact Rovers finished with a side packed of teenage scholars and Under-23s, who some fans may not have known of the names of prior to kick-off, was an alarming situation.

While a deserved and valuable experience for a promising crop of youngsters, it was a stark warning of just how thin the squad currently is so close to the start of a Championship season. Just how had it come to this?

This was very much a day of three separate XIs.

Rovers had put out a team that was the strongest they could name from the off, with just one change from the side that started at Everton seven days earlier, with Lewis Travis joining the absentee list. Those taking advantage of the spots in the side that have opened up did little to push their claims for greater involvement.

Talking of those absentees, there was an XI that could be made up which would have given those starting at Valley Parade a good run for their money. The Rovers attack could certainly do with the returns of Ben Brereton, Sam Gallagher and Tyrhys Dolan, the midfield the bite, experience and energy of Travis and Bradley Johnson, while the versatility of Joe Rankin-Costello would be a welcome boost.

Then there was the XI that finished, a side which even by Under-23s standards would be inexperienced. Teenagers Lenni Cirino, Jake Garrett, Charlie Weston and Zak Gilsenan were included in a matchday squad for the very first time, and adding in Antonis Stergiakis, Joe Nolan and Connor McBride they had no senior experience between them. The three players who had, Hayden Carter, Tyler Magloire and Jack Vale boasted just three Rovers appearances between them.

They are clearly exempt from criticism, and while always a great sight to see youngsters involved, the circumstances in which they were took out much of that good feeling, a side cobbled together in order to give those who had started a breather.

By the close it was very much men against boys, Rovers were ragged, and second best.  The fault doesn't lie at the door of those trying their best in the final 15 minutes, but how it has got to a situation whereby they were required in such number just two weeks out from the start of the season?

While constantly told not to read too much into pre-season, this was a sobering watch.

At a time when enthusiasm is in short supply, season ticket sales a reflection of that, finding themselves in this position so close to a new season, isn't a great look.

Leeds United are at Ewood Park on Wednesday night, a fair chance that supporters of the Premier League side could well outnumber home fans in the stands should an increase in their allocation get the green light.

A squad that stumbled over the finishing line last season saw 11 players depart, a perfect time to freshen things up in a squad that many felt had been together for so long, or so you thought.

What has been left is a shell of that squad, without reinforcements and lacking in any depth to deal with even a handful of absentees, never mind the extended list Rovers have.

With finances tight, a previous transfer embargo and no end in sight for a transfer saga involving star man Adam Armstrong, things show no sign of getting easier.