BLACKBURN Rovers boss Gary Bowyer labelled last night's friendly at a sun-kissed Store First Stadium as a ‘good workout’ after his side twice came from behind to earn a draw with lower-league neighbours Accrington Stanley.
Stanley, managed by former Rovers striker James Beattie, twice went in front thanks to a well-worked goal from Piero Mingoia and a fantastic finish by James Gray.
But the League Two outfit were denied a pre-season scalp after two mix-ups between goalkeeper Andrew Dawber, who went off injured in trying to prevent the second, and his defence gifted simple equalisers to David Dunn and Tom Cairney.
Rovers, fresh back from a rigorous week of warm-weather training in Portugal, continue their preparations for the big Championship opener at home to Cardiff City with a trip to League One’s Bradford City on Saturday.
And Bowyer, who reported no injuries, said: “This game was important for the lads to step up their fitness levels and a lot of them had 65-70 minutes, which was planned.
“That’s the most important thing and it was a good workout. It was a good attendance and good service.
“It’s about building relationships again and getting that timing right as we get closer to the Cardiff game.
“Accrington were good opponents and you saw the spirit that they have with the run they had last season. I’m sure they’re looking to build on that.
“It was a good preparation for us and good preparation for our next one, against Bradford on Saturday.
“All we can do is build it up and build it up.”
Asked what he thought Rovers did well and what they could improve on, Bowyer said: “There are always things you can improve on, like our timings.
“One or two things we worked on came off and Grant Hanley’s ball into Jordan Rhodes in the first half was exceptional and that’s something we’ve worked on a little bit.
“I thought Alex Baptiste in his first run out with us looked comfortable and he can only get better and then you see the footballing ability of Tom Cairney and Corry Evans when they get on the ball.
“We have the ability to mix the game up but that said if you look across the board everybody has the ability to step their game up when you look the levels they finished on at the end of last season.
“It’s about getting closer to that.”