Jan Paul van Hecke and Scott Wharton could make their injury comebacks for Rovers in next week’s Premier League Cup tie with Middlesbrough.

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

The defender has 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.

Wharton is also on the comeback trail having been out since December with a ruptured Achilles. The 23-year-old has trained with the first-team for the last two weeks and will step up his workload with 45 minutes for the Under-23s next week.

That is likely to be one of several Under-23s matches in which Wharton features in order to get him back up to speed and then in a position to compete for a spot in the side after an impressive start to last season before injury struck.

“There’s a chance they will play some sort of game next week and after that I don’t see a reason why they won’t be available after the international break if they come through these games,” manager Tony Mowbray said.

“The frustration is that we’re so close to having Wharton and van Hecke ready, but we can’t risk them, they haven’t played a game yet, and we have to do the right thing by them, get 45 minutes and then an hour, and do it properly with them.

“If the young centre halves have to play then hopefully it will be a good learning curve and they can help the team.”