Rovers will continue to monitor the fitness of Bradley Dack during his push towards a first-team return.

Tony Mowbray had outlined the plan for Dack to play the second game of his comeback period for the Under-23s when they host Everton on Friday.

The first came last Tuesday, in a behind closed doors friendly with Sheffield United, where, after 330 days, the 26-year-old came through 45 minutes.

Dack has continued to train with the squad since then, with the hope of playing for the Under-23s on Friday.

However, given the extent and length of his injury, Mowbray accepts the picture can change, with Dack more susceptible to muscle issues along the way, as he had in September when a hamstring strain set him back.

Mowbray says Dack is ‘pretty close’ to a first-team return, but the final stages of his rehabilitation will be managed carefully.

He said: “Bradley has been out for 11 months now and like anyone who’s been out with a long-term injury he picks up little knocks and niggles along the way and he’ll be frustrated as he goes along.

“He’s pretty close, we just have to manage him back into the first-team scenario.

“When you’ve been out so long you don’t want to keep rolling them on and throw them straight into games with great intensity that mean so much.

“We’ll take the right path with Bradley.”

Stewart Downing also played in the Blades friendly and made his first appearance in a matchday squad since returning to the club earlier this month at Luton Town on Saturday.

The 36-year-old hadn’t trained with a club since leaving Rovers in July prior to him re-signing three weeks ago, and Mowbray says he too is pushing hard to be involved.

“They are both chasing their fitness,” Mowbray said of Downing and Dack.

“Stewart only arrived in the last couple of weeks yet he’s trained pretty well and the plan will be for 20 minutes here and there, playing a variety of positions.

“He has a wand of a left foot, you watch him in training and you stand back and watch these amazing passes he can play.

“We’re looking forward to getting him involved.”