In 83 days, the transfer rumour mill will kick in to gear once again as the January window re-opens. But what does the future hold for these six Rovers players?

Joe Grayson

Rovers have a clutch of young central defenders, with Scott Wharton and Matty Platt (both 21) and 20-year-old Tyler Magloire out on loan. Wharton, on his third loan spell away from Ewood Park, is a regular for Northampton in League Two, with Platt, in to the final year of his Rovers deal, impressing for Barrow in the National League.

Tyler Magloire never got chance to catch the eye at Rochdale, before injury struck, and once recovered following surgery, you would expect him to have a run in the Under-23s side, rather than head back on loan.

That could open the door for Joe Grayson, current captain of the Under-23s, to head back out on loan. The 20-year-old finished last season with Grimsby Town in League Two, making just six starts, and another spell would help enhance his credentials, and become more battle-hardened as a central defender in senior football.

Sam Hart

It was a funny old summer for the full back who last played for the first team in December 2017 and has since had three separate spells out on loan. Agreed a new one-year deal in January, and had initially looked set to leave on loan.

Impressive performances in pre-season saw Mowbray change his mind, feeling he could challenge Amari’i Bell for the left back spot. But injury struck in late July, Greg Cunningham arrived on deadline day, and Hart’s return came after the loan window had closed.

He’s become a regular for the Under-23s, and while he would likely prefer to continue his development with another loan move, Rovers may need to keep him around given the concerns over Cunningham’s fitness.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Jacob Davenport

Another player currently working his way back to fitness with the Under-23s, with four appearances to his name. Has endured terrible fortune with injuries since signing last summer, with hip, groin and ankle problems at separate stages within the last 14 months meaning he has just one appearance, on the final day against Swansea, to his name.

The positive with Davenport is he has time on his side, both in terms of age (20) and contact length (three years).

But he is in need of an extended run of games to prove he can withstand the rigours of regular football, and could be well served to another loan spell, having caught the eye while out on loan at Burton Albion in 2017/18 prior to his Rovers move.

The summer arrivals of Lewis Holtby, Stewart Downing and Bradley Johnson, plus the emergence of John Buckley, are likely to restrict his opportunities for that at Ewood Park.

Richie Smallwood

Opted to stay and fight for his place, but two Carabao Cup fixtures apart, hasn’t been in any matchday squad this season, even turning out for the Under-23s at Derby last month.

Has served Rovers well in his two years at the club, but is in to the last 12 months of his deal, and will likely be thinking about his longer-term future as January approaches.

Mowbray has regularly done the best by players who have served him well, so will likely leave the next move in the hands of the combative midfielder.

A chance of regular game-time at Ewood is looking increasingly unlikely. 

Harry Chapman

Told by manager Tony Mowbray he needed to ‘kick start his career’, Chapman is yet to feature in a matchday squad, with fleeting appearances for the Under-23s thrown in. A precocious talent, the winger, who turns 22 next month, has still only started four league games in the whole of his career.

Since returning to Rovers in January, he’s played just three times, and there were opportunities for him to leave on loan in the summer, with Mowbray pointing to his need to work harder in training should he wish to force his way in at Ewood Park.

He has stayed around, but has since never really threatened to break in to the matchday squad. Rovers will be wary of his fitness should they let him leave on loan, but opportunities don’t seem to be on the horizon should the option of a loan move not be taken up this time around.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Dan Butterworth

Has his boots back on and is pushing towards returning to fitness for the first-team. Could well finish the year building himself back up with the Under-23s, before decision time arrives.

Butterworth, like John Buckley, was tipped to make an impact at first-team level this season, before a back injury hampered his progress. He has likely outgrown Under-23s football and his temperament would likely benefit from being under the microscope of first-team football.

With Rovers not short of attacking options, Butterworth may find himself squeezed out at Rovers, and having attracted loan interest last season, wouldn’t be short of suitors should he become available.