Danny Graham set the perfect example to the club’s young players by asking to play in Tuesday’s Lancashire Senior Cup win, according to Billy Barr.

First-team boss Tony Mowbray left it in the hands of his senior players as to whether they wanted to feature against near neighbours Accrington Stanley.

And having started two of Rovers’ opening six matches, Graham felt this was the opportune time to get 90 minutes under his belt.

He scored from the spot in a 2-0 win, with Dominic Samuel having opened the scoring with a first half penalty as Rovers started their defence of the Senior Cup with a victory.

Graham put in the hard yards leading the line and will hope to have done enough to push his claims for more involvement at first-team level.

“He’s asking to play games, which is great, and we feed that in to our scholars,” Under-23s boss Barr said.

“That’s one of the experienced players at the club asking to play.

“We have some scholars who come in and go through the motions.

“But here is an experienced pro who has been around the game a long time still wanting to do it right.

“It’s been great to have him around the training, for people to look at, and hopefully they can try and use what he’s done in his career for their own career.”

Graham was partnered in attack by Samuel, playing his third match for the Academy side as he continues his comeback from a knee ligament injury.

He netted twice in a win at Brighton earlier this month, and scored from the spot in the 39th minute having been fouled by goalkeeper Toby Savin.

The 25-year-old has split his time between training with the first-team and Under-23s of late, and Barr said: “He’s getting stronger, that was his first 90 minutes.

“He’s scoring goals and in training as well. He’s training with the first team and with the Under-23s at times.

“It’s been a long time out for him and it’s pleasing that he’s managed to put a run of games together. Hopefully he’ll be able to put a few more in now.”

Sam Hart was playing his fourth game for the Under-23s after a hamstring injury, as was Harry Chapman who had three goals and an assist in his last three matches at this level, enough to earn him a nomination for the Premier League 2 player of the month.

Ryan Nyambe played 90 minutes in central defence while Joe Rankin-Costello, with the first-team squad for their last three matches, was also involved.

Barr said: “It was nice for some of the pros to drop down and play alongside some of the Under-23s. It gives them a look at what they have to do on a regular basis to get in to that first-team squad.”

  • Rovers youngster Lewis Thompson scored his first goal for Northern Ireland Under-21s in their 1-1 draw with Finland on Tuesday night.

The full back scored the equaliser just before half-time, although was substituted at the break. Thompson also came through 90 minutes in the 0-0 draw with Denmark last week.

The left back has been an ever present for Rovers Under-23s this season and is expected to return to the Rovers side when they travel to Everton on Monday.

Jack Vale had been called up to the Wales Under-21s squad for the first time, but the 18-year-old missed both of their matches during the international break because of injury.