Darragh Lenihan believes Tosin Adarabioyo possesses the quality to break in to Manchester City’s first-team next season – and admits the 22-year-old will be a big loss.

Adarabioyo has returned to his parent club after an impressive season-long stay having struck up a good understanding with Irishman Lenihan in the heart of the Rovers defence.

The duo were Tony Mowbray’s preferred pairing, but despite the manager’s desire, an Ewood return for Adarabioyo appears unlikely.

That will leave a hole in the Rovers backline, with the defender having played 35 times last season, with doubts over the future of Charlie Mulgrew who has found himself out of the reckoning since returning from his loan spell at Wigan.

The Scot was Lenihan's long-term central defensive partner prior to Adarabioyo's arrival, with Mowbray now needing to find another ahead of the 2020/21 season.

Rovers will also look to recruit a new left back in the transfer window, but priority will be in the goalkeeping department where the options have been depleted.

And Lenihan said of Adarabioyo: “It would be really good getting him back but I believe he could potentially be playing in Man City’s team next season, that’s how good I think he is.

“As a player and a person he’s been extremely professional, goes about doing the right thing.

“He’s been brilliant since he’s been here, when he’s played he’s done ever so well and brought that quality to the team throughout the games.

“It will be a miss if we can’t get him back, fingers crossed we can work something out and potentially get him back for another season.”

Hayden Carter broke through in to the first-team picture in 2020, with Derrick Williams continuing to be sidelined by a troublesome calf problem which has caused him issues for much of the last year.

Scott Wharton will return from his loan spell with Northampton Town, where he earned a third successive promotion from the third tier, and is ready to compete for a spot in the Rovers senior side.

Tyler Magloire and Joe Grayson will also be hoping for a strong pre-season after injury-hit campaigns, and the emergence of several homegrown centre halves could bring an end to Mulgrew’s four year stay at Ewood Park.

The Scot was loaned to Wigan last August, having started on the opening day against Charlton when both Adarabioyo and Williams were unavailable, but opted to cut short his time at the DW Stadium in January.

That saw him return to Rovers, but he would make just one more appearance for the club, that coming in the defeat at Barnsley, his 100th league start for Rovers.

The 34-year-old, signed as a free agent in August 2016, still has a year left to run on the deal he signed in late 2019, but reports north of the border say his time at Rovers looks set to come to an end.

Mulgrew has been a regular for his country, but knows he will need first-team football to guarantee him continued involvement in the national team.

He didn’t travel with the squad for the final two away fixtures and Luton, and also didn’t make the matchday 20 for the penultimate game of the season against Reading.

Meanwhile, Craig Conway is set to return to Scotland as he looks set to earn a deal at St Johnstone.

The 35-year-old winger has been on trial at McDiarmid Park in recent weeks and appears to have done enough to impress manager Callum Davidson to earn a permanent contract.

Conway won the Scottish Cup with Dundee United in 2010, and could make his St Johnstone debut when the two sides meet in the opening round of the Scottish Premiership season which kicks off on Saturday.

The Scot has been searching for a new club since leaving Salford City in May, that spell with the League Two side coming after the fans favourite left Rovers in 2019 after five-and-a-half years and 200 appearances.