DEFENDER Adam Henley admits he is facing a ‘massive’ season as he attempts to secure his Blackburn Rovers future.

The Wales international is going into the final 12 months of the five-year contract he signed in December 2012.


And Henley, who has been on Rovers’ books since he was a boy, knows he will need to play more this season if he is to earn a new deal.

The 22-year-old said: “I’m just trying to get myself in the team wherever that is and wherever the manager decides. That’s all I can do.

“It’s a massive year for me going into the last year of my deal. All I’m doing is concentrating on myself and making sure I do the best I can for the team.

“It’s a case of wait and see (about a new contract). I’ve got to prove first and foremost I deserve a new one and that’s all I’m concentrating on at the minute.”

Henley started last season as Rovers’ first-choice right-back before losing his place to the versatile Ben Marshall both under Gary Bowyer and then Paul Lambert.

“It started off really well, off the back of the season before, and I felt like I was making good progress,” said Henley, who is fully recovered from the foot injury which ruled him out of Wales’ Euro 2016 squad.

“Then a couple of blips along the line – a red card at MK Dons and then a change of management – might have affected me slightly.

“I concentrated on trying to improve myself and doing my best to get back into the team.

“That’s football sometimes. You find yourself out of the team but you can’t afford to sulk and moan about it. You’ve got to wait for that time to come round again and take your chance.

“And that’s what I want to do this season. You can’t beat playing week in and week out, no matter where you are playing.

“But first and foremost you’ve got to earn your place and that’s what I’m concentrating on.”

Henley has played both right-back and left-back in pre-season under new boss Owen Coyle whose Rovers reign will kick off on Saturday in the Championship opener at home to Norwich City.

“He’s been really positive,” said Henley of Coyle, the sixth manager he has played under at Ewood Park.

“He’s brought a new sense of enthusiasm about the place and everyone is really excited to get going now and put together a good year.”

Coyle is still searching for another recognised left-back as well as a striker to provide cover and competition for Danny Graham and Anthony Stokes.

But his options at centre-back are set to be boosted by the arrival of Gordon Greer on a permanent contract.

The 35-year-old, who started his career in English football with Rovers, has been on trial at the club along with striker Faissal El Bakhtaoui.

Both Greer and El Bakhtaoui, who scored 30 goals in 41 games for Dunfermline last season, trained with Coyle’s squad yesterday as the preparations for the clash with the Canaries continued.

Rovers have two senior centre-backs on the books after the departure of captain – and Greer’s Scotland international team-mate – Grant Hanley to Newcastle United.

Henley said of fellow Academy graduate Hanley: “I’ve played with him and around him since I was young.

“He will be sorely missed at the club. He had a fantastic season last year and it will interesting to see who steps up to take his place.”