Tony Mowbray feels Rovers’ loan dealings have been good business for the club – even if there may be no long-term benefits.

Jarrad Branthwaite will return to Everton after an ankle injury ended his season, leaving Rovers with four loanees on their books for the remaining three matches.

Mowbray says that while the loans haven’t been free, their agreed wage contributions have ensured they have been good value.

All five loanees will return to their parent clubs at the end of the season, with little prospect of any returning for next season.

Mowbray says the loan market is one Rovers will likely utilise again next season, even if his preference would be for permanent deals.

He said: “The bottom line is that they’re going back to their parent clubs, they might have created a value in themselves, or their parent clubs they’re more ready to play for them, but for us I think they’ve all contributed.”

Rovers will face a rebuilding job in the summer to help fill the gaps left by their five loan players.

It is the most Rovers have finished a season with during Tony Mowbray’s time in charge and the most permitted in a matchday squad, despite the manager having stated his preference for permanent signings.

The number of loan players has been dictated by both finance, and injuries, with Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Jarrad Branthwaite signed in January as defensive reinforcements, the latter himself now ruled out by injury.

Mowbray has used the loan market to good effect throughout his tenure, Tosin Adarabioyo and Harrison Reed in the Championship and Adam Armstrong and Marcus Antonsson in the League One promotion campaign.

Rovers themselves will have players returning from their respective loan spells for pre-season, and Mowbray says those are all situations that will be factored into the summer business.

He explained: “It’s not an avenue that I would prefer to go down, my preference would always be to buy my own players and develop them to hopefully to help the club progress and develop them so they can be assets for the club.

“The difficult thing is that once they go back those holes are in your squad because time doesn’t stop and this club will be back at the end of June, the games will start pretty quickly and who’s going to be that second left back, that centre half to compete alongside (Darragh) Lenihan and (Daniel) Ayala, (Scott) Wharton won’t be fit by then I won’t think, Hayden Carter and Tyler Magloire will be back. Are we going to keep them around or are we going to send them back out again?

“Has anyone developed in the Under-23s to step-up, have you got enough money to buy and bring these players in, all of those things, they are things the club are discussing at the minute, but they all work around budgets.”

Rovers have contributed just a fraction of Tom Trybull’s wages in the move that saw him signed from Norwich, but did push hard to bring in Barry Douglas from Leeds United.

The other three are all in their first loan spells, Harvey Elliott signed from Liverpool in October, while Harwood-Bellis and Branthwaite joined from Manchester City and Everton in January, making them much more affordable.

“These loans aren’t free loans, but thankfully the players we’ve brought in aren’t near those numbers, I think the deals we did were pretty good,” Mowbray added.

“When they’re first loans, they’re usually pretty good.”

Branthwaite will now return to Everton after an ankle injury cut short his time at the club, picked up in training earlier this week having made his 10th appearance of his loan spell in the win over Derby County.

“He’s a young footballer who’s done well, I think it’s amazing to jump from Carlisle to play in the Premier League with Everton and then to get the chance to come and play in the Championship,” Mowbray said.

“They’re learning, he’s got all the qualities.

“He has great feel in his feet, the way he passes the ball, he’s very quick, 6’5, he just has to put all those bits together and we can all sit back and watch his career.

“I’m sure it’ll be a very positive one and hopefully for him he has a good summer, can get himself fit and then compete to get in Everton’s Premier League team.

“Hopefully he’ll be back kicking a ball for his parent club in pre-season.”