A TIRED looking Blackburn Rovers Academy side slipped to a 3-2 defeat against Everton at the weekend

Several members of Gary Bowyer's team had appeared for the reserves earlier in the week and those exertions appeared to catch up with them as they slumped to a rare defeat.

Everton struck first only for Ralph Welch to score a fine equaliser when he buried a shot from the edge of the area.

However, the Merseysiders then raced into a 3-1 lead before Keith Barker grabbed a last minute consolation when he headed in a corner.

"We looked tired to be honest," said Bobby Downes, the head of Rovers' Academy.

"A number of players have been playing in the reserves, which is great because we want them to progress, but I think they were feeling the effects."

Rovers remain top of the table on goal difference from their nearest challengers, Manchester United, who they have a game in hand on, but they are not in action now for two weeks.

In the meantime, Rostyn Griffiths will spend a month away from the Academy after being drafted into an Australian Under 17 squad for a mini tournament in Japan.

Joe Garner and Zak Jones have also been called into the England Under 17 squad for three games over the next eight days.

They play Serbia at Stoke on Saturday, Northern Ireland at Wolves on Monday and the Republic of Ireland at Walsall next Wednesday.

Keith Tracey, Eddie Nolan and Alan Judge are in the Republic squad.