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Development Squad

Damien excited by top-flight challenge

Johnson looking forward to coming up against the best young teams in Europe

27 July 2018

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Damien Johnson is looking forward to seeing how his side cope with the challenge of top-flight football next season.

Rovers romped to the Premier League 2 Division 2 title last season, winning 15 and losing just three of their 22 league games – finishing seven points clear of second-place Aston Villa.

Fixtures for the Premier League 2 Division 1 season were announced yesterday, with Rovers set to travel to Derby County on the opening day, before exciting home encounters with Chelsea, Everton, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool in the early months of the season.

Johnson’s side have a 100% record in pre-season, having recorded victories over Clitheroe (2-0), Chorley (1-0), Ramsbottom (3-0) and Darwen (5-0), but he says the true test will come when the PL2 campaign gets underway.  

“Premier League 2 Division 2 has been a good challenge and a very competitive league for us in the past couple of years and I felt that we got better each year,” said the Under-23s head coach.

“So it will be interesting to see how the players adapt. It will be a step up in quality and we’ll be playing against arguably the best young players in Europe.

“They’re all looking forward to it. Pre-season is about fitness and building your patterns and how you want to play, but everyone has always got one eye on the season.

“We’re looking forward to kick off, which is three weeks away now. We’re five games into pre-season, because we had a behind closed doors game, and we’ve got one more game to go.”  

Rovers’ development squad conclude their pre-season schedule when they travel to Kendal Town on Tuesday July 31st, kick-off 7.45pm.

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