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Let battle commence...

Tony Mowbray is eager to see how the fight for full back pans out

9 August 2019

With three left backs on the books, Tony Mowbray says it's up to each individual to prove why they should be his first choice full back.

Greg Cunningham became the latest Rovers recruit on deadline day, with the Republic of Ireland international penning a season-long loan deal from divisional rivals Cardiff City.

He joins Amari'i Bell and Sam Hart as competition for the left side of Mowbray's defence for 2019-20, with the fight for places in that area of the pitch now looking extremely strong.

Hart's impressed over pre-season before picking up an injury against Bury, whilst Bell was a regular feature in the role throughout last season.

Cunningham is Rovers' sixth summer signing, with all new boys adding Championship experience to the squad, and Mowbray believes things are looking well set in the left full back position.

“You’re always looking to create competition, everyone needs to feel pressure and that’s what we’ve tried to do," the boss admitted to iFollow Rovers.

“Amari’i played at the weekend and knows my thoughts on his performance, and I’d have to say that I’ve seen a real uplift from him in training over the last few days.

“He knows there’s someone here breathing down his neck rather than a young boy who was playing on loan at Southend in the second half of last season.

“There’s now a man vying for his place in the team. You need competition in every position and I think that’s what Greg brings.

“Sam’s come back for pre-season and has looked really good. I think in the future that he could be a first team player for us, but it will do him no harm to go away on loan to League One or League Two and keep developing.

“In the meantime, we need to create real competition for the first team."

Derrick Williams also featured at left back on occasions last term, but Mowbray now firmly has the 26-year-old down as a central defender.

“Derrick wants to be seen as a centre half and the end of last season showed us that he can do the job well there, especially when I think of Forest away and QPR away, when he played alongside [Darragh] Lenihan," the boss said.

“Competition for places is looking good. We have healthy competition and have wanted to keep the squad quite tight and as solid as it’s been for the last few years."


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