Damien Johnson has told his young group to come back ready to catch the eye on the first day of pre-season after signing off an impressive campaign with silverware.

The Under-23s finished fifth in Premier League 2 and lifted the Lancashire Senior Cup with victory over Burnley earlier this month.

Mowbray handed debuts to four of the Under-23s this season, while several more were given opportunities in 2017/18.

The first team will fly to Austria next month for their pre-season training camp, and Johnson says that should represent a target for some of his squad to try and get on the plane.

That will include the likes of Tyler Magloire, John Buckley and Dan Butterworth who have regularly trained with the first team this season, and all made their Championship bows.

“That’s always a carrot to try and be in the travelling squad,” said Johnson.

“To do that you have to look after yourself and be professional.

“Of course they have to enjoy themselves, but without being too much of a spoil-sport they have to come back on the first day of pre-season fit and ready to catch the eye.

“That’s something they will be challenged with.

“They will all have their close season programmes and they know where they want to be and to get there, the manager has some terrific players in his squad, so they have to get in among them and show they can compete and help.

“If there are opportunities to be had then they need to be the ones who come back ready to step up and take it.”

Mowbray has been a regular at the Under-23s fixtures this season and believes several of Johnson’s group can make the first team step-up.

A number of the Academy group were allowed to leave on loan to further their development and will be integrated back in to the group once pre-season begins next month before a decision is taken on their next move.

Scott Wharton spent the whole of last season out on loan, as did Matty Platt, while goalkeeper Andrew Fisher, defender Joe Grayson and midfielder Brad Lyons were allowed to make temporary moves in January.

Lyons is still with loan club St Mirren, who are involved in a Scottish Premiership relegation play-off, but Johnson says he and Mowbray have met with the returning loan players to discuss their time away from Ewood Park.

“It’s been a combination of both,” the Under-23s boss explained.

“People like Scott Wharton have been in and the manager has time all of the lads, he’s terrific like that.

“His door is always open and the lads know that.

“That’s the genuine thing about them.

“He’s happy to hear their thoughts, and from my group, I will sit down and talk about the close season.

“It’s all about the close season for them and the opportunities that may arise in pre-season.

“They have to come back ready to step-up.”