Carlo Ancelotti has outlined the possibility that Jarrad Branthwaite could leave Everton on loan amid interest from Rovers.

Branthwaite is one of the targets that Rovers have identified in this window to solve their defensive injury crisis, with Daniel Ayala, Scott Wharton and Derrick Williams all currently sidelined.

The teenager is also said to be drawing interest from other Championship clubs, and could well feature for this parent club this weekend in their FA Cup third round tie against Rotherham United.

Branthwaite has featured on the bench for Everton in their most recent three Premier League matches, but the teenager has played just once, that being back in a Carabao Cup tie with Salford in September.

However, he did feature in four of Everton’s final nine Premier League matches of last season, starting twice, having signed from Carlisle United last January having gained first-team experience for the League Two side.

And asked about the teenage defender amid his January plans, Ancelotti said: "Branthwaite might be able to go on loan for six months. We are not at this moment, thinking about signing new players."

Rovers were able to watch Branthwaite at close quarters earlier this season when he played for Everton’s Under-23s at Leyland, a game which ended 1-1.

The benefit Branthwaite brings, particularly given the long-term injuries to Williams and Wharton, is that he is left-footed and would bring the balance that Tony Mowbray would prefer.

Everton are well stocked in the heart of their defence, with Ancelotti having Michael Keane, Yerry Mina, Mason Holgate and Ben Godfrey to select from.

The Toffees also have youngster Lewis Gibson out on loan in the Championship, though the 20-year-old has played just four times for Reading.