What does the future hold for the five players returning to their parent clubs following their Ewood Park loans?

Barry Douglas (Leeds United)

How the season went: Had a difficult start, struggling for both form and fitness, but a turning point came with a stint at right back in the win at Birmingham City. He went on a solid run of form, mainly defensively, but struggled to show the attacking prowess which brought about his signing. Had spells of unavailability and finished the season out of the team, but still made 31 appearances, with Mowbray full of praise for his character.

What the future holds: Will leave Elland Road this summer at the end of his contract and while struggling for regular football with Leeds, was a popular figure at the club, as he was at both Wolves and Rovers. Has travelled the world in his career, with spells in both Poland and Turkey after leaving Scotland, but with a young family, that will come into his decision-making. At 31, with two promotions from the Championship under his belt, that will make him popular among second tier clubs, Watford having been among those interested last summer.


Tom Trybull (Norwich City)

How the season went: Seemed a good fit when signed on deadline day, a natural option in the 4-3-3 role that Rovers were operating in, but similarly to Douglas, had a slow start, not helped by unavailability, a back issue eventually ending his season. Never had a settled run in the side, his best run of form coming in March, the Millwall win a standout performance, but never appeared to suit what Rovers wanted from their midfield trio. Started 18 games and made a further seven substitute appearances.

What the future holds: Rovers paid just a fraction his wages, covering a little over 10 per cent, having been frozen out by Norwich following their relegation from the Premier League. Now back in the top flight, it seems unlikely that there is any way back for Trybull at Carrow Road, despite having a further year left on his contract, as well as the departures of Alex Tettey, Mario Vrancic and the end of Ollie Skipp’s successful loan from Tottenham. That will entitle Norwich to a fee for his services, but a return to Ewood Park is unlikely because of that, and his fitness issues. Has previously played in Holland and Germany, leaving the 28-year-old considering his options.


Harvey Elliott (Liverpool)

How the season went: A last minute move that couldn’t have worked out better for all parties. Rovers made a compelling case to take him on loan and what followed was an outstanding contribution from the teenager, seven goals and 11 assists and featuring in every match after signing. Became a firm fixture on the right side of the Rovers attack his only real spells out of the team coming towards the end of the season when it was drifting to a conclusion. Could have done no more in his 42 appearances.

What the future holds: Will have a queue of clubs wanting to take him on loan but all indications are, and have been for some time, that at the very least Jurgen Klopp will monitor him in pre-season. What seems more likely is a season in and around the first-team for the teenager whose stock has shot up since his Rovers loan.


Taylor Harwood-Bellis (Manchester City)

How the season went: Arrived in January as the second part of Rovers’ defensive additions. Was one of the few to emerge with credit from a disastrous run of form to end the season. Whether it be his character, his competitive edge or his quality, he looked the most suitable partner for Lenihan in the final weeks. Took time to find his feet, but a goal-saving challenge at Millwall was the starting point for a strong run of form. Finished with 22 appearances in all.

What the future holds: Highly-rated at Manchester City but faces a tough ask to get anywhere near their first-team next season. The decision for City will be whether they feel another loan move is right for the 19-year-old, or whether he’ll benefit more from training with the first-team, a path they took with Phil Foden. Should he be made available for loan, then he has stated a return to Rovers would interest him, as it would likely Tony Mowbray, among others. A newly-promoted Premier League side may be the most likely course of action.


Jarrad Branthwaite (Everton)

How the season went: A promising start, but a few wobbly moments, coupled with an injury and the form of Harwood-Bellis saw him become a bit-part figure from March onwards, his season eventually ended by an ankle injury from which he’s currently recovering from. Made 10 starts, including nine in a row after agreeing a half season loan deal.

What the future holds: Will likely have interest again from the Championship should he be made available again, but may benefit from games for Everton’s Under-23s before stock is taken on his development in January. Much will depend on his recovery from ankle surgery that he underwent earlier this month. Has already made his Premier League debut for the Toffees, and played for them in the Carabao Cup before being allowed to join Rovers on loan.