Rovers have turned down loan enquiries from two League One clubs for midfielder John Buckley.

Buckley was the star of Rovers’ pre-season in 2019 but found minutes harder to come by this time around and was left out of the squad for the Carabao Cup tie at Doncaster.

The Academy graduate may also be the odd man out when Rovers name their squad for the opening day game at Bournemouth, despite being the second most used substitute last term.

Only Danny Graham made more appearances off the bench than the 20-year-old’s 15, while he also started five times, contributing two goals.  

Buckley made his Rovers debut in March 2019 and has played 22 times in all for the senior side and has been backed to become a first-team regular by Tony Mowbray.

However, his red card at Derby County in March saw him miss the first three matches post-lockdown and managed 96 minutes across his four appearances after serving his suspension.

That has prompted two League One clubs to ask about his availability, and while Rovers have knocked that back for now, the possibility of a new midfielder through the door before the transfer window closes next month, and the nearing return of Bradley Dack could see that change.

“I have had two managers phone me about John Buckley and ask what we’re doing with him,” Mowbray revealed to the Lancashire Telegraph.

“I’ve discussed it with my staff and for now he’s going to stay with us because the numbers are small and it’s not the right thing at this moment to send John out.

“In an ideal world John to go out and play 40 games in League One wouldn’t be the worst thing for him, but at this moment he’s going to stay with us and there’s every chance he could break in to our starting XI and stay there through his performance.

“I think John has to keep developing.

“Coming back from lockdown I think he found it pretty difficult coming back.

“We pushed him further forward, then looked to play him as a pivot in midfield playing deeper, and I think he will settle into his role.”

Buckley’s slight physique has seen him find it difficult to make an impact in some matches, while he is yet to find a settled position.

He is competing for a spot along with Joe Rothwell and Lewis Holtby, but the departure of Stewart Downing, and injury to Dack, as well five other players leaving at the end of their contracts and only one new face arriving, has left Rovers a little short on numbers.

That was also one of the reasons for keeping Buckley around for now, but Mowbray does see the merits in a potential loan spell.

He added: “This kid can dance past people, he glides beyond them, wriggles around them with his body, he doesn’t need upper body strength, his talent is there.

“Sometimes he’s over-confident, has too many touches and has the ball taken off him because of a lack of physicality, but his talent will take him where he’s going to go.

“I don’t worry about the physicality, I just look at his footballing ability.

“With any young player there’s a level of inconsistency, that’s why he’s been in and out of the team, and potentially why it might not be a bad thing for him to go and play 40 games and try and find consistency to play in a team week in, week out.

“But at this moment while the numbers are quite small we’ll keep him with us and I’m sure he’ll come good.”