Rovers Under-23s will today look to book their spot in the Premier League Cup knockout stages when they host Crystal Palace at the Academy (1pm).

Billy Barr’s side currently top their group with a perfect record from their three group matches so far and can qualify for the last 16 this afternoon.

They need just a point from their remaining three group matches to make sure of their spot in the knockout stages for the third successive year.

Rovers have so far beaten Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Burnley and were scheduled to play Palace last week, only for the game to be rescheduled for this afternoon.

The U23s got back to winning ways last time out, beating Wolves 1-0, and are in Lancashire Senior Cup action on Tuesday when they travel to Preston North End looking to make it to their second successive final.

Barr is set to utilise a young squad this afternoon, with a number of fringe first-team players, such as Richie Smallwood, Jacob Davenport, Dominic Samuel and Harry Chapman, who have been regulars for the U23s of late, having been away in Portugal with the senior squad.

Joe Rankin-Costello and John Buckley, who have been switched between the first-team and u23s this season, also travelled to Portugal, as did goalkeeper Joe Hilton. 

Sam Hart, who has started the last three matches, has also left on loan, joining Shrewsbury Town last week, which could see Barr utilise a number of the Under-18s squad this afternoon, despite Mike Sheron’s side also being in action today against Middlesbrough.

A Sam Burns goal at Ewood on Monday night helped them in to the FA Youth Cup fifth round, seeing off Charlton Athletic, and the winger, along with the likes of Jordan Eastham, Isaac Whitehall, Jalil Saadi and Luke Brennan, could be part of Barr’s squad today.

Rovers’ other two remaining games in this competition see them travel to Middlesbrough on February 7 (7pm) and Burnley on February 20 (1pm), a game which will take place at Morecambe’s Globe Arena.

That will mean a busy schedule for the u23s who will play five games in the space of 25 days, including three home league matches against Derby (February 3), Southampton (February 14) and Liverpool (February 28).

Rovers are currently ninth in the table, six points above the relegation spots, with seven matches remaining.