Fernandez injury marrs Rovers’ promising form

Mark Duffy on his Rovers debut against Motherwell
Mark Duffy on his Rovers debut against Motherwell
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A severe injury to recent signing Marc De Val Fernandez blighted a decent performance for Rovers in a 0-0 draw with Motherwell.

The Spanish midfielder was stretchered off just before the break following a hefty clash with Paul Lawson.

Fernandez, the most impressive performer of the first half, later left the ground on crutches, his knee heavily strapped.

And boss Paul Dickov’s initial estimation was that he would miss ‘months rather than weeks.’

The injury took the shine off an improved, if unspectacular, performance from Rovers who retained possession well at times against the SPL runners-up on Dickov’s Keepmoat debut.

It also proved to be the main talking point of a half devoid of goalmouth action.

The only chance of note saw Billy Paynter fire high and wide in space on the edge of the area.

While the first half was distinctly lacking in chances, the second period offered plenty from both sides in its opening minutes alone.

Substitute David Syers turned just wide in meeting a deep cross from Tommy Spurr.

Motherwell midfielder Iain Vigurs earned applause when his audacious shot from 45 yards bounced back off the crossbar.

Trialist keeper Marian Kello was forced to tip over when Bob McHugh lashed a half volley on goal from ten yards.

The Slovakian international looked a safe pair of hands throughout, though he was given little to think about.

Rovers began to take control of possession with short passing triangles and incisive movement which proved profitable in the baking heat.

Dean Furman, fresh from signing a permanent deal, was heavily involved in Rovers’ best midfield play, linking up possession well.

Rovers were just beginning to truly find their groove in terms of passing and possession when Dickov made wholesale changes on the hour mark.

This included a decent debut for Mark Duffy, who completed his signing from Scunthorpe after the match.

Syers looked to have continued his hot pre-season scoring streak when he hooked a Rob Jones knockdown on goal but the ball was adjudged to have not crossed the line before being cleared.

Rovers lost some of their flow after the raft of changes but enjoyed some fine passing exchanges at times.

One of the most pleasing aspects of this pre-season has been the performances of youth team graduates.

Both Liam Wakefield and Evan Finnegan ensured a continuation of this, the latter in particular again catching the eye on the left flank.

Kello saved comfortably when Craig Moore elected to shoot first time when played through.

The best chance of the game saw Chris Brown power a header on target from a Duffy cross with Lee Hollis saving well.

In the end, neither side could break the deadlock.

But there is renewed confidence in Rovers following recent lacklustre showings.

n Rovers: Kello, Quinn (Wakefield 60), Mvoto (Finnegan 77), Jones (McCullough 77), Spurr, Coppinger (Duffy 60), Furman (Harper 60), Fernandez (Keegan 44), Cotterill (Husband 60), Bennett (Syers 46), Paynter (Brown (60).

Subs: Maxted, Middleton.

Att: 1,983