Tony Mowbray says Rovers will look to secure permanent additions in defence this summer – but feels the club have already made one excellent addition.

Harry Pickering signed for Rovers on deadline day for £650,000 before the left back returned to League One side Crewe Alexandra on loan for the remainder of the season.

With Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Jarrad Branthwaite and Barry Douglas all on loan, Amari’i Bell and Ryan Nyambe out of contract in the summer and Derrick Williams having this week signed for LA Galaxy, Rovers have work to do on their recruitment.

Williams has been a mainstay of the defence in Mowbray’s four years, but the signing of Daniel Ayala last summer and Pickering in January, are the first signs of a changing of the guard at the back.

“Pickering I feel is going to be a really good footballer for this club for a long time, we’ll see how the recruitment goes,” Mowbray told the Lancashire Telegraph.

“All of the loans will go back, the out of contract players, we’ll have to see whether we can do a deal with any of them, the summer is the summer and we’ll try and keep building the club as I’ve always said.

“Ideally you get young, hungry players who are desperate to get into the Premier League and take their careers in that direction. It’s not easy.

“We work hard on recruitment and let’s see what the summer brings.”

Pickering is only the second cash transfer Rovers have made for a defender since Mowbray took charge in February 2017, with Bell brought in from Fleetwood Town in January 2018, contrast to the spending in attack on Ben Brereton and Sam Gallagher.

At the other end of the pitch, Tosin Adarabioyo, Harwood-Bellis, Branthwaite, Douglas and Greg Cunningham have all been signed on loan since, with Ayala, Jack Rodwell and Paul Downing brought in as free transfers, while goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski was the sole cash signing last summer.

And Mowbray said: “I’ve always said it’s the case you want to sign footballers. Finance generally dictates that, whether you can sign your own players.

“Loans can fill holes, they can be your best players but invariably they go back to their parent clubs.

“The plan would always be to sign our own players, rather than loans, if we could so it’s not as easy as it might sign to a footballer, give him a four year deal.

“Let’s wait and see how it goes.”