Rovers are closing in on a new Under-23s manager, with Tony Carss set to return to his role as head of coaching after leading the team in recent weeks.

Carss was in the dug-out for the opening game of the Premier League 2 season, a harsh 3-1 defeat to Arsenal at Lancashire FA.

Rovers have been without a permanent Under-23s boss since Damien Johnson was promoted to a role within the first team set-up and have interviewed six candidates.

Carss says an appointment is to be made soon, and could well happen before the next game against Leicester on August 19.

“It’s been great, I’ve really enjoyed it,” Carss said of his time in charge.

“It’s a bit more me if I’m honest, daily coaching with players, being head of coaching is slightly different.

“So it’s been different for me to dip back in to it, but they are a good group of players and I’ve been surrounded by good support staff and the first-team have given me a lot of support as well.

“I’ve really enjoyed it.

“In terms of an appointment, there will probably be something in the next week or two and I will be back to my usual job.

“But I’ve really enjoyed it, it’s been great.”

Folarin Balogun scored two successful penalties, and from a rebound after Joe Hilton saved his initial effort, were enough to hand the Gunners the points.

The final two penalties came in the 82nd minute, and in the fourth minute of added time, which was harsh on a young Rovers side who had battled away and led through a Stefan Mols strike on the half hour.

“We had a game-plan in terms of how we wanted to play and set up,” Carss added.

“We were really disciplined and the lads went about it really well and were patient out of possession.

“We knew we were going to be a threat on the counter-attack with the pace and quality we’ve got and we got chances from that.

“I can’t remember them having too many chances. We’re disappointed with the penalties, not with the decisions, but with our decisions which led to them just prior to them being in the box.

“They had pace up front, were sharp and quick, and you have to be 100 per cent sure, it’s always a risk when you go to ground or dangle a leg.

“Performance wise I was really pleased, out of possession and in possession with the chances we created and the quality we showed against them.

“The result is disappointing but I thought there were some really good individual performances as well within the team which is what you’re looking for in development football against top opposition.”

Jack Vale was a stand-out performer for Rovers in attack, giving Rob Holding a tough night, setting up two excellent chances for Luke Brennan as well as drawing a smart save from James Hillson.

On the performance of 18-year-old Vale, Carss added: “I thought he was excellent. His hold-up play, link-up play, strength, ability to turn their defenders.

“He can run in behind, create chances, and I thought he was excellent.

“It was a great start to the season and if he can add goals to his performances then he will only keep edging closer to where we want him to be.”

With the likes of Joe Rankin-Costello, Joe Grayson and John Buckley having progressed to the first-team, as well as Dan Butterworth who is currently injured, there was an inexperienced look to the side, but no shortage of impressive display.

“Some of the young players got opportunities, others had to play in slightly different roles.

“It was good for them. On a night when you have got players playing for the first time you want your more seasoned players to stand up and be counted.

“I think they did. There were some really impressive performances out of possession and on the counter-attack.”