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Development Squad

Damien happy after Cup progress

Johnson admitted his side took a while to get going at the Globe Arena

2 January 2018

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Rovers U23s boss Damien Johnson admitted he saw some pleasing signs from his side after the comfortable 0-3 win at Morecambe in the Lancashire Senior Cup.

A Matty Platt strike, a Lewis Hardcastle penalty and Callum Wright's finish all in the second half saw Rovers comfortably progress to the semi-finals of the competition.

The win sets up a tie against Bury at Ewood Park at a date TBC and Johnson was left content with his side's display.

"It's been a while since we played so it's nice to get a game under our belt," Damien reflected after the game.

"We have secured our place in the next round and that's the most important thing.

"We played some decent stuff at times on a pitch that wasn't the greatest. We didn't want the conditions to dictate how we play and we expressed ourselves well.

"When we put Joe Rankin-Costello on I thought the combination play around the final third improved. There was a lot of pleasing things out there.

"Joe's been injured for a while and has got 40 minutes under his belt, which is a real positive.

"We got the breakthrough in the second half after looking a little bit rusty," he added.

And with boss Tony Mowbray in attendance at a soggy Globe Arena, Johnson is hopeful his young side have done enough to impress the boss.

The likes of Willem Tomlinson and Dan Butterworth have been in and around the first team picture in recent weeks and Johnson is hoping more players get the opportunity. 

"It's important to see youngsters get their chance in and around the first team. The gaffer was here today and he didn't have to be, with it being his day off.

"It's fantastic for the lads that the manager is there and he wants to be involved in the Under-23s. The challenge for the lads is to impress him and make that step up.

"You want lads to get a run of games in the first team, a bit like Ryan [Nyambe] did last season. That's the marker for them."


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