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Development Squad

Damien: Objective achieved from Clitheroe test

The Development Squad chief reflects on his side's opening pre-season friendly at Shawbridge

7 July 2018

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Development Squad boss Damien Johnson felt his side got exactly what they wanted out of their opening pre-season friendly against Clitheroe on Saturday.

Jack Vale bagged a brace late on in the first half and that was all that was needed for the Under-23s to secure a comfortable 2-0 victory.

The conditions weren't ideal for football, with the blistering heat resulting in water breaks during the game at Shawbridge.

And Johnson was pleased with what he saw from his side against their Northern Premier League opponents.

“The weather brings a challenge to the players and even I found it hard work in this heat on the touchline!" the Ulsterman joked afterwards. "To play in it must have been tough but they coped well.

"All in all it's been a good end to a really enjoyable week in which the lads have worked very hard.

“It's about continuing that work with the fitness and getting gametime under our belts. We came through it unscathed and won the game, so we've achieved out objective today.

“It took us a while to get going and I think that's natural in the first game back. We had a couple of trialists in the lineup and welcomed a few new lads into the group who hadn't really trained too much with us.

"They had to adapt and they did it well so that's pleasing."

There was a mixture of familiar faces and new recruits in the team against the Blues, with a couple of trialists also playing under the watchful eye of Johnson.

And he's hoping to see more from them in the coming days and weeks, with further friendlies to come for the young Rovers.

“They've come in and acquitted themselves well but we know that the guys who have come in on trial need to really show that they're better than what we already have if anything," Damien added. "We'll assess things over the weekend and will have conversations regarding every aspect of today.

“We're building on this week and we will start again Monday looking ahead to Chorley away next week."

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