Billy Barr hopes a busy period of games will provide the club’s youngsters with the perfect chance to push their claims for first-team involvement.

Barr felt it was an opportunity missed to impress boss Tony Mowbray as his Under-23s side underperformed in the International Cup defeat to Hertha Berlin at Ewood.

However, this Friday’s Premier League 2 fixture with Manchester City is the first of three games in the space of a week that the Under-23s boss hopes will prove the perfect platform for the likes of Joe Rankin-Costello to catch the eye of Mowbray.

“Some of the players are short of match practice, but you’re expected to go out and perform to get into the gaffer’s eyes,” Barr told the Lancashire Telegraph.

“He was there (on Friday) and he’ll decide what he’s seen through his own eyes.

“Then we’re not far off the busy Christmas schedule coming up and hopefully we can have players who can help enhance the gaffer’s squad.

“We have three games coming up that could put the players back in the gaffer’s eyes. Let’s hope it does.”

Dominic Samuel got his second run-out for the Under-23s on Friday, coming through the full game having played an hour in the Premier League Cup win against Middlesbrough seven days earlier.

That comes as the 25-year-old bids to overcome a groin problem that has hampered him for the last month.

Ben Brereton had been expected to feature against Hertha, but wasn’t involved having played in a behind-closed-doors game earlier that day.

The 20-year-old hasn’t played for the first team since August but is back in contention after working his way back to fitness following knee surgery.

Explaining Brereton’s absence, Barr said: “There was an in-house game (on Friday morning) and the bench we had played in that which is why we didn’t make many changes.

“From a footballing point of view everyone got an hour. Ben played in that in-house game.”

Rovers will hope for good news on the injury front this week, with Derrick Williams back in East Lancashire after being withdrawn from the Republic of Ireland squad with a calf strain.

Williams scored for his country in Thursday’s win against New Zealand but was withdrawn early in the second half.

The 26-year-old landed back in the north west on Friday and will be assessed by the club’s medical staff ahead of Saturday’s game with Barnsley.

Mowbray will also hope to welcome Darragh Lenihan back in to his squad for the first time in six weeks having been sidelined by a knee problem of late.