Richie Wellens disappointed with trialists but pleased with Anderson's return in Doncaster Rovers’ friendly defeat to Bradford City
Richie Wellens confessed he was disappointed with the majority of the trialists he featured in Doncaster Rovers’ friendly defeat at Bradford City.
A single case of Covid-19 wreaked havoc on the Rovers squad with numerous senior players forced to self-isolate due to close contact.
It meant Wellens needed 11 trialists in total to make up the numbers, with six players only joining up for training with the squad on Friday.
Rovers looked disjointed and lacking in energy for much of the game at Valley Parade, and slipped to a 2-0 defeat.
“I think the benefits we can take out of it are that Tom Anderson has got his first 45 minutes under his belt, Tommy Rowe was the best player on the pitch and Ben Close has got another 45 minutes,” Wellens said.
“But then it’s really difficult because throughout the whole game our front three was very powderpuff. Every time we did move it well, it just broke down with the final pass and our movement wasn’t good enough.
“It was difficult because we had ten bodies turn up to the training ground on Friday to meet with us for the first time.
“I also think it’s important that the trialists and the young boys who are coming from a U23s environment and want to make a living realise that’s the level. Bradford is a big club and they’ve got a decent squad this year.
“But some of the trialists were way off it.
“The first half, all the problems came from the right side of our back four. Tunji [Akinola] and Owen [Bailey] are just starting out in their careers and Cook is an experienced centre forward and he just peeled off onto that side.
“We know if Kyle Knoyle and Ro-Shaun Williams are there, then it’s not going to happen.
“Matt Smith and all of our front players, Taylor, Okenabirhie, Bogle, Hiwula are not there.
“It was tough but I’ll always try to take out the positives and it was a good steep learning curve for some of them.”
Wellens said he could have requested that the game be cancelled but, despite the tremendous amount of disruption, he wanted to squeeze everything he could out of the afternoon.
“The easy option would have been to call the game off,” he said.
“But then we’d always be chasing our tail with Tom Anderson needing minutes for example.
“The biggest thing apart from the contracted lads we’ve got was whether anyone could impress us in terms of the trialists and young kids.
“I thought Darnell Johnson was exceptional and we could have had more from him because he didn’t get much help.
“I spoke several weeks and said when these lads come in, it starts out as a no straight away and they have to do something exceptional to change that.
“They were playing League Two opposition and did anyone do themselves justice?
“I’ll give Darnell a lot of credit. He only came in yesterday and he’s played 45 minutes and I thought he was outstanding.”