Billy Barr believes Rovers’ first foray in to the Premier League International Cup is ‘massive’ for the club as a whole.

Rovers host Hertha Berlin at Ewood Park tomorrow night (7pm) having accepted the invitation to join the tournament for the first time given their Category One academy, and Premier League 2, status.

It means Barr’s side are battling on four fronts this season, sitting eighth in the top tier of academy football, top of their Premier League Cup group, in to the last four of the Lancashire Senior Cup and now set to embark on their Premier League International Cup commitments.

Boss Barr says the club’s youngsters are no strangers to facing foreign opposition, with many age groups travelling overseas to represent Rovers on the continent as part of their development.

And on the Under-23s’ involvement in the competition, he told the Lancashire Telegraph: “I think it’s massive.

“We went away with the Under-18s and it’s great to be able to play against foreign teams.

“The younger age groups within the academy go away once a year so by the time they get to this sort of age they will have had the experience of playing against several teams from abroad.

“I think it’s fantastic, I really do, and hopefully we can give a good account of ourselves and show what we can do.”

Under competition rules, Rovers are able to name three over-age outfield players, as well as a goalkeeper, but Barr’s side is expected to look similar to that fielded in the Premier League Cup win against Middlesbrough seven days ago.

Ben Brereton and Dominic Samuel made their comebacks from knee and groin injuries respectively then, both coming through an hour in the 3-1 victory.

Tony Mowbray will watch the pair once again, with both pencilled in to complete the full 90 minutes to push their claims for a first-team recall.

Brereton featured in two of Rovers’ first three fixtures of the season, but his Under-23s outing was his first action for three months having undergone knee surgery.

Samuel, meanwhile, suffered a setback last month, picking up a groin injury having featured in home matches with Luton and Nottingham Forest following 13 months on the sidelines with a knee problem.

Rovers laboured in the first half against Boro last week, but three goals in the final 14 minutes saw them turn the game on its head.

On how his side will prepare for a Hertha side who were beaten 3-1 by Benfica in their opening game, Barr added: “A bit of everything.

“We learned our team late in the week so were able to do a bit of work on that. Most importantly, we have to give them a look at Hertha Berlin, what they do, their individuals.

“You expect a German team to be efficient, to be able to manage the ball and the game.

“We have to start the game how we finished last week.”

Dan Butterworth has four goals in his last four games, after previously being hampered by a back problem, and should feature.

Joe Rankin-Costello was also on target against Boro and will hope to impress Mowbray enough to win back his place in the first-team matchday squad.

Trialist Timi Sobowale could get a further chance to catch the eye, with Barr without a number of his first choice options in defence.

Captain Joe Grayson will miss the remainder of the season with a hamstring injury, while fellow central defender Charley Doyle is also sidelined.

Left back Lewis Thompson is also unavailable because of international commitments with Northern Ireland Under-21s, who faced Hungary on Thursday night and host Romania on Tuesday.

But Jack Vale could feature, despite being in the Wales Under-21s squad, with their game with Bosnia not scheduled until Tuesday.

  • Season ticket holders, junior Rovers members and 1875 Club members can all gain free entry to the game at Ewood Park.

Otherwise, tickets are priced at £3 for adults and £1 for concessions, but there will be no advanced sales, with cash-only turnstiles available on the night.