Tony Mowbray revealed Daniel Ayala was a late withdrawal from the squad for Rovers’ final pre-season friendly at Bolton Wanderers.

Ayala was at the University of Bolton Stadium, but only had a watching brief, after reporting soreness ahead of the game.

It was the second consecutive match that the 30-year-old has missed, having also sat out the opening game against AFC Fylde.

The Spaniard, who made 10 appearances for Rovers last season, played the opening half of the behind closed doors game at Everton, and then 70 minutes against Bradford City last week, but he hasn’t featured in either of the two matches since.

“We are trying to manage him,” Mowbray said of Ayala.

“The expectation was that he was going to play today because he trained the last few days, but he reported that he had a bit of soreness and tightness so we made a pretty late decision to leave him out and not risk him.

“I want to get to the stage where Daniel can play matches and if he has to miss a few days training through the week and play Saturday that’s how we’ll do it.

“At this moment we’re trying to manage him so that he can get his body into a position where he can play football matches and he doesn’t have to protect himself and can give 100 per cent every time he turns out.”

Mowbray reported that Joe Rankin-Costello is still a couple of weeks away from returning, with Bradley Johnson also out of the opening day game with a hamstring injury picked up at AFC Fylde earlier this month.

There was better news in that Joe Rothwell was back on the pitch for the final half an hour after missing out against Leeds, while Sam Gallagher got his first minutes of pre-season when coming off the bench as part of a quadruple change on the hour mark.

That prompted a turnaround in fortunes for Rovers, as Ben Brereton scored twice in quick succession as the visitors came from 2-0 down to finish pre-season with a draw after trailing to a George Johnston first half goal and Hayden Carter own goal early in the second half.

“It was good to have Rothwell and Gallagher back, we had to manage their loads, we couldn’t expect them to go out there and play 90 minutes,” said Mowbray, who is hopeful of getting new faces through the door within the next week.

“We’re hopeful of trying to sign some players, if it’s this week, great, if not then we’ve got until the end of August and so we’ll try and strengthen the group and push on and be competitive in this league.

“They gave us a really good test, as we expected, a team with a bit of momentum who have done exceptionally well.

“Bolton Wanderers is a big club, historically a big club and to coin a phrase, they’re on their way back.

“They’re a confident group of players and it was a test for us.”