REKEEM Harper says he will continue to put in the hard yards in training in a bid to force his way in to the Rovers starting line-up.

The teenager’s attitude has been praised by boss Tony Mowbray with the West Brom loanee regularly staying behind after training to work on his game.

Harper is hoping to catch Mowbray’s eye in a bid to earn a shot in the starting line-up in the upcoming fixtures after completing 90 minutes in Rovers’ two cup outings this month.

The midfielder has made just one league appearance for Rovers, coming off injured at half-time in the win at Scunthorpe United in September, but has been limited to cup games since.

But as Rovers move in to their busiest period of the season, Harper is sitting tight and awaiting his next chance.

“It’s been difficult, I knew that there was going to be competition for places because there are experienced players in my position,” Harper told the Lancashire Telegraph.

“I knew I had to be patient because I am a younger player but I have tried to make an impression in training and in the games that I have had.

“Hopefully that will pay off soon.”

On his extra work in training, he added: “It was to sharpen up really because when you’re not playing the games it can be difficult.

“I have individual aspirations to be the best that I can so extra work will help me get me to where I want to get to so I always try and do more.

“It’s a busy period, a lot of games, so I’m hoping that I get the opportunity.”

Harper was one of only three players, along with Ben Gladwin and Sam Hart, to start the FA Cup win over Barnet on November 4 as well as the Checkatrade Trophy tie at Rochdale three days later.

He started alongside Corry Evans and Richie Smallwood in the respective games, with Peter Whittingham an unused substitute in both.

Evans is suspended for this weekend’s trip to Bury so Harper will be competing alongside his more experienced counterparts for a starting spot when Rovers head to the Energy Check Stadium.

He added: “Obviously when the chance came I tried to impress the manager as much as I could.

“I tried to make an impression and it was also good to get a physical run out.”

Harper’s quest to keep himself sharp saw him feature for Rovers’ Under-23s in their win at Newcastle last month.

And with Rovers facing 10 games before the year is out, Harper says it is important for when the opportunity to feature for the first-team comes his way.

“I hadn’t played a game in a long time so to play 90 minutes for the Under-23s was good for the physical side of things,” he said.

“When the manager does decide to throw me in, I’m ready from that aspect to help the team.”

Harper was speaking at the Blackburn Rovers Indoor Centre (BRIC) where he refereed some small-sided games between local schools as part of the Premier League Kids Cup competition.

He was also on hand to answer questions of the budding footballers, adding: “Once a month (at West Brom) we would come out and do something out in the community with the younger kids.

“They are here coming here to work hard, we have all come through a similar set-up, so it’s good.”