BLACKBURN Rovers will have to operate almost entirely in the loan market during the January transfer window - and one of Paul Lambert’s first priorities will be trying to extend Tom Lawrence’s deal at the club.

Rovers saw their transfer embargo lifted at the start of December, meaning they can pay fees for players next month, but Lambert said he will operate ‘more or less’ in the loan market.

But the Rovers boss, who will look to extend his five game unbeaten streak at the start of his tenure at Reading tomorrow, is pleased that even the option of exploring loans is available to him given the club was still under the Financial Fair Play (FFP) restrictions when he took charge.

Lambert is keen to look at strengthening all areas of his Rovers squad when the transfer window opens on January 1, but knows it may be difficult to get much business done.

“We’ll try one or two things, where we’re going to get I don’t know, especially with having to operate in the loan market,” said the Scot.

“It’s more or less loans. We have to do that and we have to work at that level, but that is okay, it’s better than what it was.

“We can do little things. We can’t go mad at it but we can move a little bit more freely.”

Lawrence’s Ewood Park loan spell is set to expire on January 3.

Lambert has already spoken to his Leicester City counterparts over the possibility of extending the former Manchester United youngster’s loan.

And with the Foxes flying high at the top of the Premier League and likely to look to try and spend from a position of strength in January, the Rovers chief is hoping that will work in their favour.

“We’ve touched base with Leicester and hopefully we’ll know in the next few weeks what is going to happen,” he said.

“Looking at Leicester you would think they are going to go and strengthen anyway with the position they are in.

“If we can do it that’s great.

“There’s a lot of work to do in a lot of areas in January but Tom is certainly one I want to keep.”

The 21-year-old was an unused substitute in Monday’s Ewood Park stalemate with Nottingham Forest as he recovers from a minor calf injury.

But Lambert has already seen enough of Lawrence to be convinced of his qualities.

“He hurt his calf the other week and Rotherham was a physical game, so we thought Forest might be the same so we went with Fode up front with Jordan,” said Lambert.

“But Tom Lawrence has nothing to prove for me. I know what he can do, but two games in four days is a big ask.”