GARY Bowyer will be looking to pick his strongest XI in the final two pre-season games this week.

It’s been shaping up pretty nicely for Rovers so far.

During pre-season I’ve been looking for results and the fans are as well but the results don’t matter, it’s about giving players game time and getting their match fitness up. The players just want to stay injury free.

Now in the final couple of games it’s time for Gary to be looking to pick his first team and give them some time together on the pitch in preparation for the start of the league season.

Gary’s been looking to stamp his authority on this squad over the last eight or nine months, and that has continued this pre-season.

I’m sure he would be looking to get rid of another three of four to get them off the wage bill, but I think he’s got a squad that he is happy to work with now.

They finished last season in great form, they went 12 unbeaten but it still wasn’t enough to get in the play-offs.

There were one or two little mistakes that cost them and they will want to put that right this season and get close to the play-offs.

The Championship is such a hard league though, the teams that have come down will be there or there abouts.

You want to finish in those top six places but there are at least eight or nine teams with the same aim. You need to be going on runs at the right time and winning games at the right time to be challenging.

Rovers might not be too keen to see Rudy Gestede travel to Malawi to join up with his international team mates from Benin just before the season, but you have to let him go.

It’s a great honour to play international football, it enhances you as a player. It can only improve your game, he will be playing a different style of football and learning new things.

The most important thing is that he doesn’t come back injured, that is what Rovers will be worrying about Hopefully he will come back refreshed from being around his Benin team mates. He is going to be an important player this season.