If this was an audition for Charlie Adam then he passed it with flying colours.

The former Stoke City and Liverpool midfielder was a surprise name on the team-sheet as Rovers fans arrived at Holker Street for the opening pre-season friendly.

Having been offered the chance to train with the club as he bids to nail down a new permanent home after leaving the Bet365 Stadium, Adam increased his sharpness further by playing the second 45 minutes against the Bluebirds.

Yes, it was only a friendly, but the Scot looked right at home at the base of the Rovers midfield.

Showing off his passing range with his favoured left foot, the 33-year-old also wasn’t afraid to direct traffic.

Further forward he was instrumental in the decisive second goal, forcing an error high up the pitch from which Joe Nuttall profited in the 64th minute.

Adam then when close with a rasping effort of his own that was only kept out by Barrow keeper Johnny Saltmer.

It may have only been National League opposition in the opening outing of the summer but the free agent’s performance was by some distance the most eye-catching one of the day.

Tony Mowbray gave a swift reminder of the context of the display post-match and said it was a case of “wait and see” with Adam.

The Scot is understood to have plenty of avenues open to him so only time will tell whether he becomes the latest experienced head to come through the door after the arrivals of Bradley Johnson and Stewart Downing.

Adam’s appearance in sunny Cumbria came as Mowbray fielded almost two completely different teams in each half, goalkeeper Andrew Fisher the only player forced in to playing 90 minutes.

David Raya’s move to Brentford had been confirmed at the start of a busy day and while Jayson Leutwiler was back with the squad after being on duty with Canada at the Gold Cup, he was rested along with fellow internationals Ryan Nyambe, Charlie Mulgrew and Corry Evans.

Amari’i Bell, Derrick Williams and Harry Chapman missed out through injury but nothing that concerned Mowbray overly when asked about it.

The game was decent pre-season friendly fare truth be told, a crowd of just north of 1,100, including 311 Rovers fans, treated to a decent spectacle.

A competitive first half offered up a couple of goals and no shortage of full-blooded challenges, Dior Angus’ clumsy lunge on Lewis Travis and Jacob Davenport’s late tackle on Connor Brown will have left Mowbray and opposite number Ian Evatt wincing given the game was essentially a training exercise.

Rovers got a better handle on things in the second, controlling the play as Mowbray wants to be their way when the Championship season kicks off against Charlton Athletic on August 3.

Bradley Dack had the first shot in anger of the new season, testing Joel Dixon from distance with an effort that the Barrow keeper dealt with relatively comfortably.

There was a better chance for Ben Brereton shortly after, Dack turning provider only for his team-mate to slice his effort wide of the near post when he should have at least tested Dixon.

Brereton was then involved in the opening goal on the quarter hour though as all the play continued to come down the right, the forward sending in a ball that was diverted into his own net by a Bluebirds traillist.

Rovers continued to have the better of things with Joe Rankin-Costello breaking forward from right back and making the most of a Brereton run to test Dixon with a low shot.

The hosts were more than playing their part though in an increasingly physical game though, Angus their standout player.

First the winger took a fine through ball from former Rover Lewis Hardcastle just before the half hour only to see his shot helped over the bar by Andrew Fisher, before a second effort from outside the box was saved.

As the Bluebirds continued to press their leveller came on 38 minutes.

Hardcastle nearly had his dream moment against his former club, a curling free-kick from 20 yards being helped on the crossbar by a fine Fisher save.

The rebound fell for the National League side though, Scott Quigley heading into the empty net.

It was all change at the break and Nuttall was straight into the action as he looks to press his claim for a greater role this season.

John Buckley laid on a first chance after nicking the ball back only for the striker to dwell too long, before moments later Nuttall and Saltmer went for a 50-50 with the keeper’s clearance rebounding off the Rovers frontman and to safety when it could so easily have gone in.

The chances kept coming as Rovers increasingly made the three-division difference show, Nuttall heading Adam’s corner into the side netting with a Dan Butterworth shot from distance then not far wide.

Adam Armstrong was next to go close with a shot saved at the near post before the visitors finally got their noses in front.

Adam’s good work gave Nuttall the time and space to arrow a tidy, low finish into the bottom corner.

From then on it should have become three, four or five.

Adam’s strike from fully 30 yards tested an increasingly under siege Saltmer, Barrow having to bizarrely finish the game with 10 men when they weren’t allowed to bring a player back on for the injured Brian Wilson.

Rovers couldn’t add to their tally though, Armstrong shooting over before Mowbray’s men somehow didn’t score in a frantic 60 seconds.

Armstrong hit the bar, Buckley had a shot saved before from the resultant corner Lewis Thompson didn’t head home when free in the box.

It mattered not though on a day that was all about getting up and running as the countdown begins to the new season.

Rovers first half: Fisher, Rankin-Costello, Lenihan, Grayson, Hart, Davenport, Travis, Rothwell, Brereton, Dack, Graham.

Second half: Fisher, Bennett, Magloire, Wharton, Thompson, Adam, Smallwood, Buckley, Butterworth, Armstrong, Nuttall