ROVERS boss Tony Mowbray says he will show respect and speak to his senior players before deciding whether to include them in the team for tonight’s Checkatrade Trophy tie with Bury (7.45pm).

The clash is the second group game of the competition and Rovers will field a mixture of senior players and Academy graduates.

But just who the senior players are will depend on Mowbray’s conversations with the likes of Danny Graham, who has started just three league games this season, and Craig Conway, who is nearing a return from a hip injury.

“I think the best thing to do is to talk to the likes of Craig, even the likes of Danny, because I’ve never been a manager who says ‘you are playing in this game’,” Mowbray said.

“If they feel they need the time they will play, if not, then they will train, work hard, sweat, because the bottom line is that when the first team are playing for three points on a Saturday afternoon or Tuesday night, it doesn’t matter what has happened in the past, they have to be fit to play.

“If the best way to get to match fitness is to play on a Tuesday night in a Checkatrade Trophy tie then that’s the best way.

“Or if they think their body is better running around a track or a pitch, box-to-box runs then that’s what we’ll do.

“The senior players, I show them some respect and won’t force them to play games like this.”

Rovers must select four players in tonight’s starting line-up who have played more than 40 league games, though players on loan from Category One Academy clubs also count towards that number.

Mowbray will be without Charlie Mulgrew, Corry Evans and Jayson Leutwiler who are away on international duty, but the likes of Ben Gladwin, Sam Hart, Ryan Nyambe and Scott Wharton and on-loan duo Harry Chapman and Rekeem Harper are expected to feature in the starting XI along with a number of the club’s Under-23s side.

Mowbray sees the game as an ideal time to rest players such as Paul Caddis, Derrick Williams, Richie Smallwood, Elliott Bennett and Dominic Samuel who have been virtual ever-presents in League One.

And he’s hoping Rovers can secure a second straight Trophy win to allow more youngsters to be blooded in the final group game at Rochdale next month.

He added: “We have some players that need a break, some players that have been playing every week probably don’t need to play on Tuesday but there are some who do need to play.

“There are a few young lads who will really benefit from playing with the senior players so it will be a mixed team again and hopefully one that can get a victory and the last game away at Rochdale we can send quite a young side and move in to the next phase of the Checkatrade.

“Hopefully we can get the job done on Tuesday and see what we have to do in the last fixture.

“These senior players who are not playing at the moment can be included in the four that you need.

“Ben Gladwin hasn’t been playing but counts because he’s played more than 40 games.

“We have a few of those more experienced players who probably need a game so that will take care of it (the criteria) and then we can fill the rest with some young players that I feel deserve the opportunity to push on.”