With positives very thin on the ground from Saturday’s disappointing performance at Lincoln, Hayley Paterson casts a glance at the impact of Rovers’ various trialists - and what they might offer this season.
Paul Dickov fielded no fewer than seven trialists at Sincil Bank as ex-Manchester United trainee Ben Williams started in goal.
The 31-year-old started tentatively but had little to do as Lincoln were guilty of misfiring. A free agent, Williams has good pedigree having represented the likes of Hibernian, Colchester, Carlisle, Crewe and Chesterfield and enjoyed a clean sheet following a goalless first 45.
Fellow experienced shot-stopper Jamie Ashdown took over the gloves in the second half and commanded the area well. The 33-year-old ex-Leeds United ‘keeper endured a torrid time with injury during his Whites career but provides a safe pair of hands. He could do little about the Imps’ two brilliant strikes from Jordan Burrow (56) and Alan Power (81).
Peter Clarke, 32, started his second friendly game for Rovers as he partnered Luke McCullough at centre-back. The former Huddersfield defender was a strong presence in the box and would be a solid addition, particularly in helping Dickov’s clutch of youngsters to develop.
James Bailey, 25, plays in a similar vein to Dean Furman. The ex-Derby midfielder is comfortable on the ball and enjoys breaking up the play. His 45 minutes at Lincoln were largely quiet but he did show a flash of brilliant vision to pick out Lewis Ferguson in the area during a first half attack.
Cedric Evina looks a very good option, particularly his ability to play in either defence or midfield. Dickov knows all about what the 22-year-old can offer, having signed him at Oldham.
Evina took up a left back spot for Rovers in the second half which could present a chance for James Husband to move onto the wing.
Youngster Elliot Kebbie and 32-year-old Nathan Tyson were both lively after the restart.
Former Atletico Madrid midfielder Kebbie boasts pace and caused a problem early on for Lincoln’s right-hand side, while striker Tyson wanted the ball and offered speed in attack.