Damien Johnson admits it is a fine balance for Rovers to decide on what’s best for their hot prospects this summer.

A number of the talented Under-23s squad have trained with the squad this summer and featured in the opening two friendlies, including last night’s 3-1 win against Mansfield.

Four Academy graduates were handed their senior debuts last season, and 11 in total since Tony Mowbray took charge in February 2017.

Johnson has had great success with the Under-23s and has this summer been promoted to a role within the first-team coaching set-up.

The likes of Ryan Nyambe and Lewis Travis have been beneficiaries of not going out on loan, but getting their first-team chance, while several more have tried their hand in the EFL.

Joe Rankin-Costello, Dan Butterworth and John Buckley have all impressed in pre-season, with several clubs have contacted Rovers about their availability.

On what’s best for young players,  Johnson said: “There’s always different opinion and you can see the logic of both sides.

“Going out and playing men’s football where something’s on the line is a big part of football. At times in the 23s it can be very technical.

“young centre backs may  not have to head a lot of balls but in league games they do.

“It can be down to the philosophy of a manager. Some managers might need to know the young players can play first team football to play in their team to get that trust.

“Our manager is open minded. If they’re here he can see them every day and if they’re out on loan it doesn’t get that opportunity.

“When opportunities arise those who are here can benefit.

“Looking back, people like Ryan, Trav, they weren’t out on loan. They wanted to be at different but it didn’t happen, they stayed and got an opportunity.

“I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer. Both can be beneficial.”

Sam Hart, Scott Wharton, Matty Platt and Lewis Hardcastle were three players who agreed season-long moves last summer, though all three were recalled in January and on to different clubs.

And Johnson says finding the right club for their young players can be a difficult task, particularly with the scrapping of the emergency loan window meaning deals have to be for at least six months.

“You have to be careful where you send young players,” Johnson added.

“Sometimes clubs just want a player, a body for want of a better word, to put in their squad knowing a club would be happy to supplement the wages.

“That players might spend six months on the bench. That doesn’t do them any good.

“Though they are in a different environment, can see how other clubs work and it can be a reality check because we are lucky with the facilities and infrastructure here.

“But if someone has spent a couple of years in Under-23s football and hasn’t had a taste of first-team football or had the opportunity.

“I think the opportunity has to be the right one.

“The preference would be for a manager to say ‘we like this player and can see him playing in this position in our team’.

“I’m less enthused about calls that say ‘we need a left back’. The manager and club don’t know you, so it’s a risk.

“If they spend a few years here in the under-23s but don’t get a taste of first-team football then it’s probably right to move on, but it has to be the right club.”