Patience is key for Darren Moore in Doncaster Rovers’ pre-season

Darren Moore admits he will have to be patient as Doncaster Rovers play their first pre-season friendly around 48 hours after returning to full contact training for the first time since March.

Darren Moore. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Some English clubs were back in this week having only completed their 2019-20 season last month, but Rovers have not played since March 7.

Whilst they have been training in small groups, Thursday was the first time they could train together because of Covid-19 protocols. Most League One teams are the same, except for League Two play-off winners Northampton Town, League One play-off losers Oxford United, Portsmouth and Fleetwood Town, and relegated Hull City, Wigan Athletic and Charlton Athletic.

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The new Football League season starts on September 12, but the first round of the League Cup is a week earlier – 21 days from now – and could be sooner if Doncaster’s opponents have international call-ups.

There are limits to what Moore can expect but he also needs his players quickly up to speed.

“I just want people to get through it unscathed, really,” he says of today’s friendly against League Two Scunthorpe United. “They’ll be getting 45 minutes, two teams.
I want them to get used to the ball and the timing, the contact on the ball, to get refocused and realigned with the movements.”

It is similar for League Two Bradford City, but not Harrogate Town, who come into the division via play-off games on July 25 and August 2. The Bantams, who resumed full-contact training last week, play at the training ground of a higher-division club today.

Rotherham United, who began full-contact training on Tuesday, are returning to a Championship where last season’s clubs played nine matches in June and July.

“We’ve just got to try and get as much out of these six weeks (of pre-season) as we possibly can,” says Moore.

“There will be things I’ll have to be a little bit patient with. In a normal pre-season you reach certain levels quicker.

“If they’re not there from the start you’ve got to persevere with them and believe they will come. But we’ll be putting as much work in as we possibly can to get in the best possible condition for the start of the new campaign.”

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