From being on the receiving end of a Neil Warnock rant to understanding the Rovers and Preston rivalry to facing the prospect of coming up against one of his best mates, Jarrad Branthwaite’s first month at Ewood Park has been a learning experience.

The teenager says he’s taken on advice from club captain, and central defensive partner, Darragh Lenihan, as well as manager Tony Mowbray, and also welcomed the arrival of Taylor Harwood-Bellis.

When 18-year-old Branthwaite arrived from Everton he was thrust straight into the side, but will now faces more of a fight for his spot after fellow Premier League prospect Harwood-Bellis agreed a similar deal when joining from Manchester City.

To his credit, and defying his tender years, Branthwaite has taken everything in his stride, though that should be no surprise for a player who has gone from being close to getting let go by Carlisle United to the Premier League in a little over a year.

“Coming out on loan is about helping my learning,” he told the Lancashire Telegraph.

“The incident at Middlesbrough helped massively, the defeat at QPR and the goal, looking at bits of my game that I can work on.

“Going out on loan is a little bit of a risk for a young player but it’s one that you’ve got to take to develop and improve.

“It’s been unbelievable, everyone here has been very welcoming, the players, the staff, and the game-time I’ve got is everything I could have asked for. I’m enjoying every moment of it.”

An interesting angle to tomorrow night’s meeting will be that Everton duo Branthwaite and Gordon come up against each other, while in the red side of Merseyside, Rovers loanee Harvey Elliott will be on the opposite side to Liverpool team-mate Sepp van den Berg.

“I spoke to him on Thursday night on the phone about the game, we’re looking forward to seeing each other and I’m glad that he’s getting game-time,” Branthwaite said of Gordon.

“We were saying that a couple of weeks ago were playing on the same team in training and now we’re coming up against each other.

“Getting the three points for us is the most important thing but it will be nice to play against him, but we’ll be looking to get the three points.”

Although fans won’t be present inside Ewood Park, the importance of the game remains the same, something Branthwaite says Mowbray has stressed to the players going into the game.

“The manager has been saying how big this game is for the fans, it’s not disappointing for them not to be there, but we have to go out there and show them how much it means to us to get the three points,” he explained.

“We need to bounce back from last weekend, we were disappointed not to get anything, we thought we created enough chances but it wasn’t to be.”

The arrival of Harwood-Bellis will provide direct competition, as will Daniel Ayala when he returns from his hamstring injury.

Lenihan and Branthwaite looks the partnership for now however, with Rovers having conceded just twice in the four games they have played together which has coincided with a return to form for the Irishman.

“Darragh is an experienced pro, he’s taken me under his wing and we’ve been doing things after training, during training, and he’s helped me a lot with my game,” Branthwaite said.

“Competition is what you need to improve as a player and keep your standards high.

“I’m buzzing that Taylor is here, such a brilliant player, so we need to keep competing, helping the team and seeing where it takes us.”

Branthwaite and Harwood-Bellis were Rovers’ first choices when it came to needing to strengthen in central defence following the injuries in that area of the pitch.

Both have been on the bench, and made cup appearances, for their respective clubs this season, but that wasn’t enough for the pair who were keen to further their development.

Branthwaite said a conversation with Mowbray was enough to convince him that Rovers was the right place to do that and to push for more than being on the bench of a Premier League side.

“I had a phonecall with the manager and knowing how he was as a player, and the way that he spoke about the club that helped my decision and was the only club that I had in my mind,” he said.

“Coming out on loan, playing week in, week out, is going to help any player whether it’s in the Championship, League One, League Two, playing games regularly helps any player.

“It was an unbelievable experience being on the bench in the Premier League, I couldn’t believe it, on the bench for Everton, but I felt this was the right step to take for my game and improve for next season.

“Getting on the bench is good but for me it’s about developing as an individual and as a player, improving and helping the team win games.”