Rovers were boosted by the returns of Jack Vale and Elliott Bennett from their respective injuries in Monday night’s Under-23s draw at Manchester City.

Striker Vale, who made his first-team bow at the end of last season, has endured a frustrating time with injury since and broke down in his one Under-23s appearance against Arsenal having not featured at all in pre-season.

However, the Wales youth international was back to lead the line at City where Rovers put in an excellent display, only to be denied a deserved three points by some excellent goalkeeping by James Trafford as the game ended 1-1.

Vale led the line well, while in midfield, first-team captain Elliott Bennett got his first minutes since injury his ankle in October, playing the opening 45 minutes.

The one downside for Rovers was the absence of Dan Butterworth’s whose bad luck with injuries appears to have continued.

“It was brilliant to have Jack back out there, and he’s been really good in training as well,” said Billy Barr.

“He’s maturing, but the most pleasing thing for me was the fact there was no petulance from him.

“He’s run around, he’s listened to the game plan and has created opportunities for himself and others in what was his first full 90 minutes of the season.”

Rovers recalled Luke Brennan and Stefan Mols form their respective loan spells at AFC Fylde and Spanish side FC Intercity earlier this month.

Brennan was an unused sub, but Mols, aged 21, wasn’t involved because of a slight injury, but Rovers will look to get him another loan move this month.

Central defender Joe Grayson, another not to be used against City, could also leave on loan before next week’s deadline, as Rovers look to get first-team minutes into some of their young prospects.

“Stef has a slight ankle injury from training indoors,” Barr said of Mols.

“He’s been recalled and we’ll look to get him another club this month.

“He’s getting to an age now where we’re looking below regarding giving opportunities.

“But we can’t just throw him by the wayside, if at some point he needs a game then we’ll look to give him one, but we will be looking to get him another club.”

Another primed for a loan move is goalkeeper Joe Hilton, recently back from an emergency seven-day spell at Fleetwood Town.

However, Tyler Magloire, although not involved last night, is expected to stay at Rovers for the remainder of the season, despite Hartlepool United keen to re-sign him after 10 appearances during a two month spell that ended earlier this month.