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Wellens pleased with final pre-season outing

2 August 2021

Richie Wellens was pleased as his team finished pre-season with a victory over Sky Bet League Two side Harrogate Town on Sunday.

Goals from Kyle Knoyle, a trialist and Aidan Barlow were enough for Rovers to claim the win despite a late onslaught from the home side.

“I thought it was a good game. It’s more realistic in terms of what we’ll face in our league games,” said Wellens.

“We had to defend a lot of set-plays and high balls and we’re going to face a lot of teams this year who play that way.

“Our defenders had to head the ball a lot because Harrogate are a team who are very effective in getting the ball forward and they’ve got powerful runners.

“They’re an established team so it was a good test for us.”

Wellens saw moments of quality in the game, but says there is still plenty to build on for his newly assembled side ahead of the season opener next Saturday.

“At times it wasn’t great but Harrogate don’t give you a moment’s peace. They’re an honest side and they’re always pressing and always on you,” he added.

“We want to work hard to win the ball back but then we have to slow down and be composed when we have it and there were times on Sunday when we were still stuck in fifth gear. When we got it right – particularly in the first 20 minutes of the second half – I thought we looked really good.

“After 65 minutes I was really happy but then we conceded a sloppy goal and made things hard for ourselves.”

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