Rovers reporter Rich Sharpe provides the lowdown on the final training session in Austria.

The trip will end with a friendly double-header against TSV Hartberg.



The voice of Jon Dahl Tomasson was heard most during the course of the final session of the week.

The head coach looked to come into his own during an 11v11 match, stopping play whenever he needed to pass on instruction and casting a close eye over every detail, and movement. 

There were clear patterns of play he wanted to see from his side, including runners from midfield, and a lot of the focus seems to be on trying to improve the goal output of the side.

While Tomasson is demanding of his players, there is no shortage of encouragement, and the players are certainly buying into what is being asked.

The competitive element to the training sessions continues to shine through, and a real sense of focus throughout the 90-minute session.



The most disappointing element of the session was not to see the full complement of 31 players training.

Arnor Sigurdsson picked up a groin issue late on in Thursday’s session and wasn’t involved on Friday.

Neither was Jack Vale, because of a hamstring issue, and neither will be involved in the friendlies against TSV Hartberg.

That will have altered Jon Dahl Tomasson’s plans for the game, with two separate XIs to be fielded.

That is a why a squad of 31 travelled, and opportunities look set to come the way of Zak Gilsenan and Charlie Weston who seem the most likely to take the places of both Sigurdsson and Vale.

The youngsters who have made up the remainder of the squad will be substitutes across both games, and could get minutes given the temperatures that the games are expected to be played in, and with 90-minutes having been scheduled for both.



The session finished with work on set plays, both attacking and defending.

Gregg Broughton has previously outlined this is one area Rovers didn’t see an improvement in output during the second half of the season, and a specialist coach is one area the club are looking to recruit.

Until that happens, the role of defensive set plays, both corners and wide free kicks, falls on goalkeeping coach Ben Benson, something which stems back to Tony Mowbray’s tenure.

Benson walked the players through, step by step, their responsibilities from defensive set plays.

Simultaneously, at the other end of the pitch, assistant boss Remy Reijnierse worked on attacking set plays, and one routine in particular that will be worth keeping an eye out for.



Bad Radkersburg, where Rovers are based, isn’t the easiest place to get to.

It has taken plenty of planning, expense, but also dedication, for those who have made the trip to do so.

The majority will be based near Hartberg, where Rovers play their friendly double-header tomorrow, some 82km away from where the club are training.

Though that didn’t stop a handful of supporters doing all they could to watch Jon Dahl Tomasson and his squad in action as they watched on from the sidelines.

Their rewards came afterwards with the players spending time with them, Sam Gallagher even playing keepy-uppy with a young supporter after the session had ended.

Rovers are returning to the UK after the match, hence the early starts for both games at the Profertil Arena.

With a 10.30am start for game one, it will mean the players have to be up and ready at the crack of dawn as part of their pre-match preparations.

The training sessions have taken place in temperatures close, or even above 30 Celsius.

The storms dominated either side of Thursday and Friday’s sessions, but scorching temperatures are forecast for when the players take on Hartberg in the second friendly.