Rovers are through to the knockout stages of the Premier League Cup as they continued their 100 per cent record in the competition.

Billy Barr’s side comfortably made it past Crystal Palace 2-0 at Brockhall to book their place in the last 16 for the third consecutive year with still two matches to play.

Jack Vale proved the difference between the sides, scoring the opening goal late in the first half before creating the second for Luke Brennan on the hour mark.

It was a much-changed side for Rovers, with a number of the fringe first-team players who have turned out for the Under-23s this season away with the senior side in Portugal.

That meant Jordan Eastham, Dan Pike, Flavien Enzo Boyomo, Jalil Saadi and Luke Brennan all stepped up from the Under-18s side that beat Charlton in the FA Youth Cup fourth round on Monday to start, while Isaac Whitehall replaced the injured Ben Paton in the first half.

Rovers have now beaten Palace twice, as well as overcoming Middlesbrough and Burnley who they both travel to in their remaining group matches.

The win followed up three points against Wolves in Premier League 2 and Barr was delighted to secure a safe passage in the knockout rounds.

He said: “I’m pleased with the whole performance.

“I thought we started really well and created a few good chances, mainly through Jack Vale.

“We got a bit sloppy midway through the first half but finished the game really well.

“I thought that we created more chances today than we have in any of our games and got the result, which is great.

“We need to learn to stay on the ball longer, get into better positions and to really work the opposition.

“Jordan’s not had that much to do, the defenders have defended well and when we’ve got it right we’ve got it right well.”

Vale has led the line for the Under-23s for much of the season, and Rovers are short of options in attack after the sale of Joe Nuttall last summer, and Dan Butterworth being sidelined with injury.

That gave Brennan the opportunity to start on the left, having come more in to the fold of late, with Wales youth international Vale the central striker.

It was from there that he turned in a Bradley Lyons cross, at the end of a sweeping Rovers move to put Barr’s side ahead.

And it was on the counter that he created the second for Brennan who finished confidently in to the far corner.

Barr felt Rovers could have had more than the two goals they did, but the win sets them up nicely for Tuesday’s Lancashire Senior Cup semi-final against Preston North End.

And Barr said of teenager Vale: “We know what Jack’s got. He’s not had as much game time this season as he’d have liked and he had a little injury recently as well.

“He’s only trained twice in the last couple of weeks and you could see that towards the end of the half through bad decision making.

“But he’s scored and assisted the other, so he goes home happy and there’s progression there for him.

“I thought we could have finished the game with six or seven goals if our shooting boots were on.”

Rovers’ other two Premier League Cup games 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.

After the Preston game on Tuesday they will play five times in 25 days in February, including three home league matches against Derby (February 3), Southampton (February 14) and Liverpool (February 28).

Rovers: Eastham, Pike, Thompson, Saadi, Barnes (Carter, 57), Boyomo, Paton (Whitehall, 28), Lyons (Burns, 60), Vale, Mols, Brennan. Subs: Dowling, Harlock