Gaffer's reaction to realistic test and increasing injury concerns.
Darren Ferguson praised Rovers 2-1 win over York City in their penultimate pre-season game, saying that it was the “perfect” clash for his side to prepare for the rigours of EFL Sky Bet League Two.
The Minstermen were relegated to the National League last season and Matty Blair sealed the victory when he rifled home a winner against his old club.
“It was a good game for us; I think it’s as close as we’re going to get to playing a League Two team without playing one,” said Ferguson.
“Its what we’re going to get for the next ten months, they’ve just gone down but I knew it was going to be a test for us – a bit more than what we’ve faced.
“We’ve had Rossington, Middlesbrough and Newcastle and obviously we’ve had to cancel Saturday but this was the one which I felt was as close to the real thing.”
The game was once again overshadowed by injury though with Luke McCullough, who has just signed a three year contract, hobbling off after a quarter of an hour.
Ferguson’s post-match comments therefore focussed largely on the multitude of injuries that have beset the squad and even forced the postponement of one fixture.
“We’re having a tough time with injuries; it’s getting a bit testing now,” he admitted.
“Luke’s obviously caught his studs in the grass, we don’t know how it is but it doesn’t look good – it’s another one that’s walking about on crutches.
“It could be his knee, it could be his hamstring; we’re not sure. It’s the back of the knee but we’ll have to get it assessed.
“We’ll have to deal with it. He’s a pivotal player, he’s just signed his new contract, and he’s going to be a big player for us.”
Joe Wright should be available for Friday night’s final pre-season game – against Coventry City – in Nuneaton but the game will come too soon for Paul Keegan and Harry Middleton who should make the start of the season on August 6th against Accrington Stanley.
With influential figures Craig Alcock, Mathieu Baudry and Gary McSheffrey also missing, Ferguson may have to explore the loan market.
“We're still looking at bringing one or two in - we're definitely looking at bringing in a centre half as Mitchell Lund has played there tonight and then the striker that we've always talked about,” he said.
“The last week has been a bit of a blow to us but apart from that I’ve been fine with it (pre-season).
“We're just trying to make sure that we get as much work done on the training ground and then they (the players) use it in the games that we play.
“We've seen some good stuff and some that we clearly need to work on but every team will be saying that. Generally you don’t get up to speed until a few games in but we want to hit the ground running.”