How Tomasson is using Rovers' schedule to ensure player readiness

·2-min read
Rovers head coach Jon Dahl Tomasson
Rovers head coach Jon Dahl Tomasson

Rovers made 10 changes for the Carabao Cup visit, with Jon Dahl Tomasson bidding to ensure his players get full exposure to match minutes for when they are called upon in the Championship.

Victory against Hartlepool United means Rovers still have six more matches this month, starting with Sunday’s visit of West Bromwich Albion and including the second round cup tie at Bradford City.

Having had no midweek game prior to the season, or after the opening day win over QPR, Tomasson opted to arrange behind-closed-doors matches in which those players who didn’t feature were able to still play match minutes against Port Vale and Accrington Stanley.

Dilan Markanday, scorer of Rovers’ fourth goal against Hartlepool, also played for the Under-21s in their opening Premier League 2 fixture against Everton last Friday having not been part of the matchday squad at Swansea.

There was also an Under-21s friendly arranged on the same day as the first-team played QPR, with the likes of Joe Rankin-Costello, Jake Garrett and Harry Leonard all featuring.

It appears a consistent part of Tomasson’s management to ensure that players don’t go any length of time without playing match minutes, not least given the expectation of intensity when they do cross the white line.

Those who didn’t play on Wednesday night took part in a 45-minute training session following the 4-0 win. The session went on until beyond 11pm, with the players then in for training on Thursday.

Tomasson has also switched up Rovers Under-21s fixture list, where possible.

Home games are now played at weekends, with Rovers hosting Wolves on Sunday at 12pm before the first-team game gets under way at 3pm.

Explaining his thinking, Tomasson said: “When we need to build a squad with young players, you have to make an environment where they can become better.

“You always try to get game-time with teams that are better than Under-21s, that they play men's football, but still play with my way of thinking.

“I don't want them playing a different way of football and each player needs different things for minutes.

“Sometimes they might only play two games but the work is worth four games. The reason is to develop.”

Under-21s boss Mike Sheron was part of Rovers’ two summer training camps, with Tomasson keen for him to first provide knowledge on those making the step-up, but also to learn about his methods and how he wants his side to play.

Rovers will look for that to be mirrored throughout the Academy process in a bid to create a seamless transition.