Rovers are facing decisions over the immediate futures of their trio of young players out on loan.

The three players all signed season-long loan deals with their temporary clubs, but they will come under review before the transfer window re-opens.

Rovers allowed Scott Wharton, Matty Platt and Lewis Hardcastle to further their development with first team experience in the EFL, but all three have struggled for opportunities at their current clubs.

Matty Platt has played just five times for Accrington Stanley, but none of those have come in League One, while he has failed to make their matchday squad on 13 occasions.

Scott Wharton returned to Lincoln City, where he spent six months last year, but after a promising start, has been restricted to just five league starts.

And while midfielder Lewis Hardcastle has been a regular in the Port Vale squad, he has started just two League Two games.

Under-23s boss Damien Johnson admits that isn’t ideal, but says there is value in the players having to earn their stripes on loan, and benefitting from the different surroundings of senior football.

“They go to a different environment so can learn even when they don’t play,” Johnson said.

“But the ideal scenario is they go and experience a different environment, play some men’s football and have that pressure on a Saturday at 3pm with the games.

“The disappointing thing is that from that aspect, while there have been benefits from them being there, they have not quite got the minutes we would have liked.

“That’s just the challenge. They all want to go on loan and feel they are ready, but it’s not easy.

“We have seen it over the last few years with loan players who have come in to this club and maybe haven’t been able to get in front of the regular lads who are established in those positions.

“It’s sometimes difficult to get them out of the team or take their place, and our lads have found that.

“The manager will speak to them all around Christmas, we have call backs, and we have decisions to make on the players now in the building who might want to go on loan.”

While Wharton signed a new long-term deal at Rovers before heading out on loan, Platt and Hardcastle both see their current deals expire next summer.

There are also decisions to be made over other members of the Under-23s squad, including Charley Doyle, Tyler Magloire, Jack Doyle, Stefan Mols, Okera Simmonds, Lewis Mansell and Joe Rankin-Costello whose deals all run to June.  

There is expected to be plenty of loan interest in a number of Rovers youngsters in January, with Joe Nuttall and Lewis Travis keen to get more first team minutes under their belts.

Joe Grayson, who signed a new contract until 2021 on Monday, and attacker Dan Butterworth are others who could also attract interest.

Sam Hart is another Rovers player out on loan, but the 22-year-old has made 11 League One starts for Rochdale and is expected to stay at Spotland.