Rovers have shortlisted six candidates for the vacant Under-23s managerial role.

Damien Johnson was promoted to the first-team set-up as technical coach after four years in charge of the Academy side.

There was healthy interest, from internal and external candidates, with Rovers keen to make an appointment as soon as possible.

Head of academy coaching Tony Carss has led the side in pre-season, and could be the man in the dug-out for the Premier League 2 opener against Arsenal on Monday at Leyland is Johnson’s successor isn’t named by then.

Chief executive Steve Waggott was full of praise for the job done by Johnson, which included winning the Premier League 2 Division Two title in 2017/18.

“Interviews have just been completed, they shortlisted six altogether, some external and some internal and it was a really strong field.

“They are going to review all the sessions as it was practical and theoretical so that is all being done.

“It is a key appointment and so it has to be right.

“Damien has done a great job so his legacy is there.”

Johnson oversaw the development of a number of the club’s talented youngsters who have made the transition in to the Rovers first-team.

John Buckley, Dan Butterworth, Joe Rankin-Costello, Joe Grayson and Tyler Magloire were among the youngsters to be involved in pre-season, with Buckley used off the bench in the opening day defeat to Charlton.

Owners Venky’s remain committed to funding the Category One Academy, which requires funding of at least £3m a season to fulfil all the criteria.

Rovers remain in the top-flight for Academy football at both Under-23s and Under-18s level, with several homegrown players regulars in the first-team matchday squad.

The new Under-23s boss will be expected to help facilitate the next wave of talent, with Rovers having also recruited players for their Academy sides in the last 12 months with the arrivals of midfielders Brad Lyons and Tom White, from Coleraine and Gateshead respectively, plus goalkeeper Joe Hilton, from Everton.

“They have done well, it is £3m to run a Category One Academy and we have to put two thirds into that, probably a bit more, so it is a big commitment,” Waggott said.

“The pipeline has got to be strong but there has to be a patience as well and an understanding that it is for tomorrow.

“You do get waves, I had it at Coventry with Callum Wilson and James Maddison and Cyrus Christie all coming through together and you get a spike that then dies down a bit.

“We seem to have another pipeline behind it with the likes of Jack Vale coming behind it who are decent players.”

Meanwhile, Rovers have announced loan signing Tosin Adarabioyo will wear the No.24 shirt.

The Manchester City youngster will hope to make his debut when Rovers travel to Craven Cottage to face Fulham this weekend.