Rovers: No time off for Doncaster

Under pressure: Armthorpe players close down Rovers' James Coppinger at Church Street. Picture: Steve Taylor.
Under pressure: Armthorpe players close down Rovers' James Coppinger at Church Street. Picture: Steve Taylor.
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DONCASTER Rovers No 2 Richard O’Kelly expressed his satisfaction today on how the first week of pre-season training has gone.

The squad, which includes around a dozen trialists, have trained every day, including today, since reporting back in addition to playing their first warm-up game away to local Northern Counties East League Premier Division side Armthorpe Welfare on Thursday evening.

The game, which ended in a 1-1 draw, saw all three of Rovers’ new summer signings James Baxendale, Tommy Spurr and Kyle Bennett get a 45-minute outing.

“I thought that the new signings looked the part and everyone of the trialists did well, as they have done all week,” said O’Kelly.

“They’ve shown a nice attitude and they’ve fitted in well with the rest of the group. They have all encouraged each other and everyone of them has come in and shown something.”

Rovers traditionally like to move their first warm-up game among the local elite teams, but they made their second visit to Church Street in three years to mark long-serving manager Des Bennett’s testimonial.

“What we were looking for was to attract a good crowd for Des’s testimonial, which we did, as well as looking for a good work-out, which we got,” said O’Kelly.

“We also wanted to have a look at our own players as well as the players that we have brought in and everything was positive on the night, although we would like to have won. “I thought that we got better in the first half as the game progressed. We created more things in and around the box and they didn’t get up the pitch much. We started the second half well but it became a bit more of a counter attack game.”

O’Kelly admitted that prior to Rovers taking the lead with a long-range strike by trialist Martin Devaney on 86 minutes, he was starting to be resigned to the visitors drawing a blank.

“The Armthorpe keeper was absolutely magnificent,” he said. “He had one of those nights. I was going to ask him to pick my lottery numbers.”