Rovers had made a bid for Crewe Alexandra left back Harry Pickering, the Lancashire Telegraph can confirm.

The club have a long-standing interest in the 22-year-old who is also attracting the attention of Stoke City. However, Rovers are the only club to bid for the talented left back and it is understood the clubs aren’t far away from agreeing on a fee.

Pickering still has two-and-a-half years left on his contract, but Crewe are realistic as to the fee they could receive for the player who is closing in on 150 appearances for the Alex.

Barry Douglas is on a season-long loan from Leeds United, with the recall clause within his deal understood to have now passed, while Amari’i Bell, Rovers’ other left back option, is out of contract in the summer.

Rovers are therefore looking at longer-term options in that position, and are looking at Pickering, one of the brightest talents outside the Championship, looking to fit the bill.

Left back is a position that Rovers have struggled to nail down in recent years, bringing in Greg Cunningham and Douglas on season-long loan deals in the last two summer windows.

Bell is into the final six months of his deal, having signed from Fleetwood Town in January 2018, while Derrick Williams, an ever-present in the League One promotion campaign, has since been considered as a centre half.

Crewe are under no pressure to sell, but equally wouldn’t stand in the way of a player who has graduated through the club’s Academy, making his debut in April 2017.

Boss David Artell said this month: “The first thing to say is, we don’t have to sell. That is the first thing.

“And we won’t, unless it is an offer that we feel is right for this football club.”

Pickering is one of a number of players to have won rave reviews at Gresty Road, developing an excellent understanding with Charlie Kirk down the left-hand side.

The feeling within the League One club is that Pickering will go onto play in the Premier League, with any deal set to include a sell-on fee they expect to gain from in the future.

It appeared that Rovers would be content with loan deals this month, having initially not planned to make any moves in the January window.

However, the club believe Pickering is a deal that represents excellent value for money and will add to the list of assets at the club.