TONY Mowbray says tonight’s Checkatrade Trophy tie will provide an opportunity for members of Rovers’ Under-23 side to be involved on the first-team stage.

Mowbray is in regular contact with development squad management duo Damien Johnson and David Dunn to monitor the progress of the club’s youngsters and the Ewood boss often attends home matches.

And he admits he could hand a number of them some game-time against Bury, just as he did in the previous group game against Stoke City Under-21s.

Andrew Fisher, Lewis Travis, Jack Doyle and Willem Tomlinson all started the win over the Potters, with Joe Nuttall coming off the bench to score, while Matty Platt was also given a debut.

“I had some conversations with Damien and Dunny about how many young players we are going to play because I would have to say the Under-23s are doing fantastically well,” Mowbray said of a side who have started with five wins from seven league games in the Premier League 2 Division 2.

“To put them on the first-team berth and playing at Ewood is a positive for them, a chance for me to show them that they are doing well and that they are on the cusp of it and not that far away.

“More importantly it’s a chance to give the first-team players who haven’t had as many minutes as they would have hoped some game-time and let them try and put their case forward for a starting place.”

Rovers will need to check on the fitness of Nuttall, Tomlinson and Doyle before deciding on their possible involvement but one player who is expected to feature is right back Ryan Nyambe.

The defender hasn’t played since the win over Stoke on August 29 when he was forced off with an ankle injury. The 19-year-old has been on the bench in the last two games and with a full week of training under his belt is expected to start tonight.

Mowbray added: “He will have trained for over a week and I can’t think of a better opportunity for him to come in.

“We will see how he goes, hopefully he can come in and do 90 minutes.

“That will be the same for a few others, and then we will fill in the holes with the Under-23s.”

Having been relegated from the Championship last season, Rovers are now taking part in the competition as a senior side, a year on from being one of 16 Category One Academy sides who were included in the Trophy as part of the relaunched format. 

Rovers’ youngsters were eliminated in the group stages but Mowbray believes the competition can have benefits for teams in the third and fourth tiers.

He was manager of Coventry City for one of their group games last season, with the Sky Blues going on to lift the trophy at Wembley in April following a win over Oxford United.

“It can be a fantastic competition,” he said.

“I started last season with Coventry, we played West Ham Under-23s and then ended up with 42,000 supporters at Wembley who watched them win it.

“It can turn in to a really exciting tournament or it can fizzle out pretty quickly.

“I just like to win games, whatever team you put out, I want to win the game.

“Let’s see how far we get in it, how the young players around the squad can cope with the demands of the tournament.”