Jan Paul van Hecke has joined up with his Rovers team-mates for the first time this week as he continues his injury comeback.

The defender had previously remained with parent club Brighton since travelling to East Lancashire to seal his season-long loan move from the Premier League club last month.

He returned south to continue his rehabilitation, with the expectation always that the 21-year-old wouldn’t feature before the October international break.

With that on the horizon, the Dutchman has now teamed up with Rovers to finish off the final stages of his rehabilitation before pushing for a spot in the squad.

His ongoing absence comes at a time when Rovers are set to be without captain Darragh Lenihan for a second successive match at Blackpool this weekend having gone for a scan on a groin injury.

Scott Wharton is back in full training, but after nine months out with a ruptured Achilles, he is still some time away from being able to challenge for a place in the side, with an Under-23s outing next month planned for the Salesbury-born defender.

With Ryan Nyambe also undergoing concussion protocols after being forced off in the first half of the defeat at Huddersfield Town, Rovers are short of numbers at the back heading into the trip to Bloomfield Road.

The two-week international break which follows that will allow Rovers time to get more of their returning players up to speed, with Bradley Johnson closing in on his return after three months out with a hamstring injury.

The midfielder has played twice for the Under-23s, completing 45 minutes and 75 minutes in outings against Leicester City and Leeds United respectively, while Joe Rankin-Costello’s return to the fold hasn’t been a smooth one since his two outings following a fractured metatarsal.

With Rovers carrying a much smaller squad this season, staying clear of injuries was always going to be a key factor in their season, and manager Tony Mowbray will hope for better luck on that front in the near future.

Sam Gallagher has been carrying a thigh issue for much of the season, and showed signs of fatigue before replaced at Huddersfield.

“We need to get our experienced players and keep them fit and available to help us do the job,” Mowbray said.

“Injuries, sometimes they drag on a little longer than you, you can have an idea but they can drag on.

“We’ll wait and see.”

Speaking of van Hecke earlier this month, Mowbray told the Lancashire Telegraph: “I was fine with that at the time and I am now.

 “He heads the ball in both boxes, he passes the ball extremely well, he’s mobile, confident.

“He’s a good footballer, he brings some defensive stability for us, an ability to pick the right pass into midfield or the strikers.”