'We're being rushed back' - Darren Moore's frustration as Doncaster Rovers' cup tie looks set to be brought forward and pre-season shortened

Darren Moore believes Doncaster Rovers are being rushed back into action as they look set to be forced to play their opening match of the season on August 29.

By Liam Hoden
Thursday, 20th August 2020, 7:00 am

The Rovers boss says pre-season plans will need to be rewritten and he will have to make some tough decisions with his squad to ensure he has a team available to play on that date.

Rovers have been drawn away at Championship side Blackburn Rovers in the opening round of the Carabao Cup - ties of which are due to take place on the weekend of September 5, a week prior to the start of the League One campaign.

But September 5 is a designated international weekend, which would typically mean second tier clubs would not be in action.

Ewood Park, home of Blackburn Rovers

It is understood that the EFL will allow Championship clubs to elect to play their ties on the originally scheduled dates if they wish.

With three or more Blackburn players likely to be called up, it is expected that the match will not be played on September 5.

With a packed fixture schedule throughout September, and the second round of the Carabao Cup due to be held on September 15 or 16, the only possible alternative sees the match brought forward to the weekend of August 29.

Having only returned to pre-season training on August 3, Rovers will have only completed four weeks of training - a figure made all the more worrying by the fact they were out of action for five months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

And Moore has his concerns.

“Pre-season is going to change because the timescale of us coming back to playing games has been far too soon,” he told the Free Press.

“We’re going to have to make decisions along the way, looking at where the group are as we come towards that game.

“These things are not to be rushed because we’re in a situation none of us have been in before, the players have been off for a long time and we’re being rushed back.

“Therefore, we are going to have to, if it comes to it, take matters into our own hands when it comes to the group. I’ll monitor that over the next 14 days and see where the group is at.”

Rovers had pencilled in a pre-season friendly with a Championship club for August 29 so will now see a vital preparation match for the campaign lost.

When it comes to the trip to Ewood Park, Moore says he will only select players he feels are physically ready for the cup tie and will refuse to jeopardise the long-term fitness of individuals with a hectic campaign to come.

“If there is a detailed schedule planned for pre-season and the players have not hit that marker physically then you cannot rush them on,” he said.

“In any off-season, pre-season is usually done over six weeks. Pre-season for us this time will not have even been five weeks, and after five months off.

“That tells you all you need to know.

“That is where you have to be careful and I have to use my experience in the game and knowing where you should be at, will have to come into it.

“We’ll look at all scenarios as a staff going forward and we’ll go from there.

“They need longer time.

“We’ll have to make plans and adjustments to deal with that fixture.”

Moore feels the impact on Blackburn will be much less severe, with the Lancashire side having completed the Championship season over five and a half weeks through June and July.

Blackburn returned for pre-season training on Monday after a short break and Moore believes they will already be in excellent condition, having last been in action less than a month ago.

“Blackburn can play that game then [August 29],” Moore said.

“They’ve just come off the old campaign which finished three weeks ago. They’ll still be at a certain level and be fit.

“We’re just starting. The scale that we’re going through, they’ve already been through it and they’ll be getting a second wind.

“They’ve had eight weeks of it, and a couple of weeks off. It’ll only take them ten days or so to blow off the cobwebs when they come back into it.

“They’ll be at an advantage over the boys and where they’re at.”

Despite his reservations over the timing of the cup tie, Moore insists he is still excited by the opportunity for his squad to test themselves against Championship opposition.

He said: “I love the draw. It’s a fabulous draw.

“I think it’s a really good game for the club and I’m really excited and buoyed by it.

“We should be excited with it.”


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