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Boss hopeful of Ayala inclusion

The Spanish defender limped off in the second half of the midweek encounter against Watford

23 October 2020

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Tony Mowbray remains optimistic that Daniel Ayala will be in contention to feature this weekend when Rovers head to Coventry City.

The Spanish centre back, a summer arrival after his departure from Middlesbrough, hobbled off midway through the second half in Wednesday night's defeat to Watford.

The diagnosis post-match suggested that the 29-year-old had a groin injury, but Mowbray believes the setback is a minor one for the defender.

And that means he could be back to feature when Mowbray takes his side to tackle old club Coventry this weekend.

“Dani’s had a scan, we haven’t got the results of it yet so we’ll have to wait and see," the boss revealed to iFollow Rovers in his pre-match press conference.

“I don’t think he’s got a bad injury, it’s just something where he’s getting used to the intensity of the team and his body adapting to that.

“I’m not ruling him out, I think it’s just a tightness, so we’ll wait and see what the scan shows.

“I think the rest of the squad looks fine, the [Sam] Gallaghers and the [Joe] Rankin-Costellos are pretty close to getting back fully and we’ll decide who’s ready for the weekend."

Should Ayala not make it, it's expected that the returning Derrick Williams and Scott Wharton will battle it out for a spot in the heart of the Rovers backline.

Williams missed the midweek game at Hertfordshire following a period of isolation, but is now back in the frame to play a part again for Rovers.

“Derrick’s back on the training ground, he fits into the same category as Sam and Joe," Mowbray added.

“If we feel they’re ready to play how we want to play, they’ll have a chance.

“We’ve been trying to prepare the lads for three-game weeks for the last couple of months by increasing the training loads so that it becomes almost normal for them," Mowbray said when touching on the final encounter or a three-game week.

“There’s been a real output change in terms of the date from the players. The physical data is really strong and the players are working at levels they've never reached in my time at the club.

"We have to try and maintain that and sustain that over a long period of time."

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