THREE of the trialists who featured in last Thursday’s pre-season game at Armthorpe Welfare - striker Rowan Vine and defenders Ellis Deeney and Rachid Bouherra travelled up to Eskdale in Cumbria yesterday with the Doncaster Rovers’ squad.
The Rovers players will spend the next three days at the outward bound centre they visited in 2009, taking part in various team-bonding exercises before taking on Barrow at Holker Street in their second warm-up game on Saturday.
Record signing Billy Sharp remained behind to work on his fitness, but will travel up to Cumbria on Friday and is expected to play some part in Saturday’s friendly.
Although only three of the dozen or so to turn out against Welfare travelled up to Cumbria, Rovers’ boss Sean O’Driscoll didn’t rule out some of them returning to train with the club again next week.
“If they’ve got no club it is not really fair to take them with us when they could go and have a trial with another club,” said O’Driscoll.
He added: “It wasn’t ideal for us, or the players, to bring in so many (trialists) at once but we only had 12 fit players.
“They all had different agendas and they all wanted to do well.
“It was quite a difficult week for them but to give them credit, their attitude was first-class. They all impressed in some way and they all disappointed in some way, which is probably what you get with every player.”
O’Driscoll said that he has other irons in the fire, but admitted that other clubs may also be targeting the same players.
“We’ve got a list as long as my arm,” he said, “but every club in the Championship will also be aware of all the players.”
Speaking before departing for Cumbria after a training session in the morning, O’Driscoll said: “It is just a break. I always found pre-season a bit of a drag when I was a player.
“It would have been nice had we been able to take the players altitude training in Austria but I’m not going to use 30 or 40 grand doing that when I think I can use it somewhere else.
“We’ve been to Cumbria before and done this sort of thing before over four or five days.
“It is different to being at the training ground. You get players out of their comfort zone and although we won’t be doing any ball work there are one or two things which will be football related.”
The Supporters’ Club are holding their AGM at the Earl of Doncaster on Thursday week.
All the officials, including chairman Len South will be seeking re-election.
n Rovers diary: P36