Rovers start their Papa John’s Trophy campaign with a defeat at home to Rotherham United.
Joe Dodoo and Rodrigo Vilca made their Rovers debuts while Tommy Rowe captained the side in Tom Anderson’s absence.
On his return from injury, Jordy Hiwula showed plenty of attacking flare early doors, having one shot saved while taking a heavy touch on another chance.
On the tenth minute Ben Close attempted an effort from long distance but was off target.
Rotherham United then stormed into a three-goal lead within five minutes. Mikail Miller’s cross deceiving Louis Jones before a miscommunication between Jones and Branden Horton allowed Freddie Ladapo to score into an empty goal. The third came from a thunderous strike from Hakeem Odoffin who hit it in off the top left corner.
Despite Rovers suddenly being three goals down, it did not put them off their stride. Matt Smith hit a one-on-one effort over the bar before Close forced Josh Vickers into a stretching save after a well-worked corner routine.
Before half-time Rovers Hiwula dragged and effort wide from a brilliant position after an excellent ball was cut between two Rotherham defenders by Rowe.
Within minutes of the second-half Rotherham got their fourth as Ladapo’s effort came off the post and Will Grigg was on-hand to tap-in.
Jones pulled off an excellent save to deny Dan Barlaser directly from a set piece.
Just after the hour mark Wellens made a triple substitution. Jordy Hiwula, Rodrigo Vilca and Joe Dodoo were replaced by Kyle Knoyle, Dan Gardner and AJ Greaves.
Rotherham made it five with Jake Hull just getting a touch on Barlaser’s corner.
From the 77th minute both teams were down to 10-men as Close and Tolaji Bola wtihdrew from the game for treatment after two seperate incidents.
On the 85th minute Rotherham made it 6-0 with Joe Mattock heading home from a corner.
Rovers return to league action with a trip to Wigan Athletic on September 11.