Rovers won’t see the best of Dan Butterworth until next season but was pleased with the latest injury comeback for the attacker.

That’s the view of Under-23s coach Billy Barr who saw Butterworth make his latest return against Everton last Friday.

Butterworth has had a difficult last 15 months, with three separate injury absences, and his 72-minute outing against in Friday’s defeat was his first appearance since January.

He made his first-team return in December as a substitute at Stoke City before suffering a setback, and Rovers hope Butterworth can now enjoy an injury-free final few months.

Tony Mowbray is a known admirer, and Butterworth would boost the attacking available options to the manager, but Barr believes that won’t come until next season.

“We won’t see the best of Dan Butterworth until next season,” said Barr.

“He’s come through injury-free, we’ll see how he is and plan the next week for him.”

His next hope of featuring for the Under-23s will come when they host Liverpool next Monday (April 19).

Butterworth played as part of an attacking Under-23s line-up who started the brighter at Southport’s Pure Stadium but two goals in five minutes from Nathan Broadhead and Charlie Whitaker proved their undoing.

Sam Burns pulled one back just after the half hour, his sixth goal in five games, and had another disallowed in the second half for offside.

Defeat for Rovers, just a fourth this season, leaves Manchester City clear at the top of the Premier League 2, with an eight-point lead with just four games remaining.

But Barr remains pleased with the progress of his side who had been unbeaten in five games prior to the Everton reverse.

“I’ve told the lads not to be down because I’m happy with how we played and happy with how the season has gone for us in general,” Barr explained.

“Just because we’ve lost a game, it shouldn’t mean that we change the way we try and play.

“The players are really disappointed because the goals were preventable, but we’re learning and we have to move on from it.

“A couple of wayward moments have cost us two goals, but I’m happy with the group, our young and evolving group.”