Rovers welcome Cardiff
DAVID Hockaday insists results aren’t the be all and end all as he prepares his side to face the might of perennial Championship contenders Cardiff City at the New Lawn tomorrow (3pm).
Hockaday said: "The result is not important. Win 5-0, lose 5-0, it doesn’t matter in pre-season. We’re getting fitter and sharper and touch wood we’ve had no major injuries, and that’s what it’s all about.
"The main thing is that everyone’s getting game time – 45mins in earlier games, then 60 minutes and some players have now had 90 minutes."
Rovers are coming off a 4-0 home defeat to Paolo Di Canio’s impressive Swindon outfit and Hockaday is expecting a tough test against the Bluebirds.
He added: "Against Swindon we got caught cold in first half and didn’t play to our best, but credit to the boys they dug in and created some chances later in the first half and in the second half.
"We’re stepping up another level against Cardiff. I expect them to be better than Swindon so it will be a tougher game, but if we want to play in the higher leagues, this allows the players to see what it’s all about.
"Yes we’d like to win all our pre-season games but the quality of opposition we are playing dictates that we won’t.
"However, we are hopefully attracting some new fans, giving them a chance to see the quality of the stadium and the pitch – and most importantly, it’s all about getting us fit for August 11 in that first league game against Cambridge."
Cardiff are managed by Hockaday’s close friend Malky Mackay – the duo worked together at Watford during Hockaday’s time as the head of the academy at Vicarage Road. Former Swansea City defender Chris Todd is set to be given a run out after failing to feature against Swindon Town.
Cardiff squad spent last week training in the shadows of the Swiss Alps on the shore of Lake Geneva and will face Rovers in their first friendly of the new season.
New recruits Jordon Mutch and Joe Lewis will be included in the Bluebirds’ squad on Saturday alongside new Solvenian striker Etinen Velikonja.
Meetings between Rovers and City have been few and far between in the history of the two clubs, with the last time match being another pre-season fixture at The New Lawn in August 2004 when Cardiff came out on top as 3-1 winners, with Mark Beesley bagging Rovers’ only goal.