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Kinder content with summer preparations

17 August 2014

Rovers' Under-21s get their 2014-15 campaign underway on Monday night when they travel to the south coast to take on Brighton & Hove Albion.

Eric Kinder had an eventful first year in charge of the development squad, but believes that his new-look side can make an impact, both individually and collectively.

With the club taking the view that it is better to gain experience out on loan rather than play for the Under-21s, it will be a young squad that Kinder takes charge of this season, with the average age of the group at less than 18-years-old.

This pre-season saw Kinder's side lose their opening friendly against Clitheroe, but since then they've remained unbeaten with three wins and three draws to ensure an air of optimism ahead of Monday's opener.

"It seems a long time ago since we first came back and started down at Clitheroe," said Kinder. "I think pre-season has gone alright, better than expected to be honest.

"It is a really young side and we've played a lot of non-league teams where they've had to stand up for their selves.

"You have to remember that the vast majority of these players, if we had Under-21s, these lads would still be down at the Academy, so they are going to have to step up, and step up pretty quick.

"But I've been impressed by the way they've handled the non-league teams and the way they have stood up to the physical side of it."

Kinder knows that the Barclays Under-21 Premier League presents a tough learning curve for the players, and is quick to remind that it isn't about results at youth levels, but producing players who will ultimately be good enough to play for the first team.

"It will always be about development, it always will be." added the Reserve team boss. "If we have a player that we feel will benefit from going out on loan and handling it okay, rather than staying with us at the Under-21s, then he will go out on loan.

"It is all about developing, not a team, but developing individuals so they can go into a team which is obviously the first team.

"We are playing in a Premier League competition and it is going to be hard work, so they are going to have to settle down and get to grips with it pretty quick or else they'll get a rude awakening.

"It is a proper league, there is promotion and relegation, but it will be difficult for us to make a massive impact on it because of the age of our players."

There'll be a new face amongst the Rovers staff on the touchline this season as former goalkeeper John Filan joins as Kinder's assistant.

"I'd never met John before but he's been here a week to ten days and we get on like a house on fire," Kinder added. "It is like we've known one another for years.

"The initial period of us being a team looks good, I think we both get on very well together so hopefully we'll have a good season together."

Following the away match against Brighton, Rovers return to Leigh Sports Village for a fifth year with Aston Villa the visitors on Monday 25th August. Kick-off 7.00pm.

The Rovers coach has been impressed with the facilities available at Leigh, with the only thing lacking from last season being a home win!

"I've only been here for 12 months but obviously during my time at Carlisle I came down to watch Blackburn Reserves play whoever we were watching at the time," added Kinder.

"I've now spent 12 months working with the staff at Leigh and they are fantastic people.

"Everything that we want we get, they try and help us all we can. The playing surface, the ground staff are excellent, they did a wonderful job last season.

"I'm looking forward to going back again and seeing the staff. Hopefully we can get a victory there because we didn't manage that last season!"

Season Ticket holders can see all of Rovers' home Under-21 matches for free on production of their season ticket cards, whilst for the Aston Villa home game at Leigh Sports Village, supporters can see the match for free, simply sign up at

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