Gaffers thoughts ahead of season opener.
Darren Ferguson has warned that he will not underestimate League Two as Rovers prepare for a tilt at the fourth tier for the first time since 2004.
The former Peterborough United manager won one of his three promotions at London Road from the division.
“We’re near favourites with the bookies along with Portsmouth who were last season and I think they finished sixth,” said Ferguson who takes his team to Accrington Stanley for the season opener on Saturday.
“I think the biggest thing is to make sure that we don’t underestimate the league because it’s a really really tough league and will be a tough ten months and I hope the supporters take this the right way that they don’t underestimate the league.
“I hope they don’t think that we’re just going to turn up and win games because it isn’t going to happen. We’re going to have some really tough matches and need patience with everyone. The aim is to get promoted automatically but it’s not going to be easy.”
Rovers’ task has been made that little bit harder by the sheer volume of injuries suffered in pre-season but the Scot insisted his troops will get on with the job in hand and should have enough quality despite the season long injury suffered by Luke McCullough.
“Whatever 18 I pick will be strong enough. We have to get on with it and deal with it,” emphasised Ferguson.
“I expect it to be good enough and get a result.
“(Paul) Keegan has trained the full week as has (Joe) Wright and (Harry) Middleton. I certainly won’t be risking anyone, they're available – Harry’s had enough game time, Wright will be available but it’s probably too early for Paul.
“(Craig) Alcock will have an operation on Friday and will be out for 8 weeks at least, (Mathieu) Baudry at the end of the month and (Gary) McSheffrey a couple of weeks after that.”
It looks unlikely that Rovers will bolster their ranks before travelling to face Stanley for the first time in more than 55 years!
“We’ll wait and see,” he said.
“There’s been a lot of speculation about certain people but there are a lot of rumours – you’ll know pretty quick if anything is done.
“We are thinking about getting one or two in definitely but whoever I bring in I probably would have brought in anyway because we have to make sure that we utilise the loan market properly just to make sure that we have the right numbers.
“I can’t see anything happening before the weekend.”
Ferguson reserved his thoughts on Saturday’s Lancashire opponents, who finished fourth in League Two last year.
“They were two minutes from getting automatic promotion and they’ve lost a couple of players so could be seen as a new team but so are we,” he said.
“It’s a tough game, a tough little ground to go to and ask anyone it’s a tough place to go so we expect a hard match.
“I watched them against Halifax; very good footballing team, good technical players and they’ve added some players this week too.
“It’s important that we’re not one-dimensional and if things aren’t going as we’d like that we have other options.”