Northampton Town have made no secret of their desire to re-sign Scott Wharton on loan – but accept the defender will at least spend pre-season with Rovers.

The Cobblers held out until late in July to land Wharton on loan last season, and admit their chances of him returning for a second spell could well run late in to the transfer window.

Wharton has spent the last two seasons out on loan, but is keen to test himself at Rovers in a bid to break in to the senior side, with Tony Mowbray wanting to run the rule over the 22-year-old.

Rovers will be in the market for a central defender, but the likes of Wharton, Hayden Carter, Joe Grayson and Tyler Magloire will be given chances to impress in pre-season.

Wharton has won three successive promotions from League Two, and played a ley role in Northampton’s play-off win, featuring 43 times, including in the 4-0 rout against Exeter City in last month’s Wembley final.

Northampton chairman Kelvin Thomas has told his club’s website that Wharton, and fellow promotion hero Callum Morton of West Brom, are on their list of targets, but all plans won’t hinge on their returns to Sixfields.

He said: "We have a couple of boys from last season that we would like to retain in Callum and Scott, and there has been a lot of conversation all around about that

"But as with any loan player, and as it was with Scotty last season which was late in the day, I think Scotty will want to see how he fits into Blackburn's plans in the Championship, which is understandable.

"So that might be a late shout, and it might not even happen, and Callum is the same.

"Those conversations are happening, but our season is not going to be based on Scott or Callum.

"We will hopefully be better for having those two in the building, but we have to make sure that we get the right players in anyway."