Jan Paul van Hecke is ready to give Tony Mowbray another defensive option as the manager hopes for a defensive boost after the international break.

Scott Wharton played his first games in 10 months as he continues his comeback from a ruptured Achilles in a behind closed doors friendly with Manchester United earlier this week, the latest player to step up their comeback from injury.

Joe Rankin-Costello was also back on the pitch after a minor setback in his return from a fractured metatarsal, while Bradley Johnson, back in the squad at Blackpool after three months out with a hamstring strain, also got a run-out.

With Ryan Nyambe (concussion) and Darragh Lenihan (thigh) having missed matches before the international break, Mowbray hopes that came at a good time to allow players to get closer to being up to speed.

And putting his name forward, Brighton loanee van Hecke said: “I’m now here and back in full training. It feels good.”

With one wait over for van Hecke, he’s hoping that another isn’t far away either.

The Brighton defender signed for Rovers 48 hours prior to deadline day but it wasn’t until late last month that he joined up with his new team-mates for the first time.

That was owing to a pre-existing injury that he was undergoing treatment for at his parent club, but having moved into a position where he could resume full training again, the 21-year-old travelled up to East Lancashire for a second time, and this time with the aim of getting into the team.

“It’s taken a couple of weeks from when I signed, I had to go back to Brighton and after three or four weeks I’m now here and back in full training. It feels good,” the Dutchman explained.

“My conditioning is good, and hopefully I’m now fully back training and ready to play games.

“I’m now fully back in training which is good and it’s now a focus on the games and hopefully I will soon be back.

“I need to show myself in training and then you’ll get your chance.”

Despite being on the books of Brighton, van Hecke is still waiting to make his bow in English football.

Having signed last summer for the Premier League club from NEC Breda, he was loaned back to the Eredivisie, albeit with Herenveen.

There he was a regular in the side, playing 31 times in all competitions, and there had been talk of a return to his homeland in the summer.

It was Rovers who secured his signature however, and having watched the opening games of the season closely, the centre back believes he can combine his attributes, along with what he learned in the Eredivisie, to be a hit in English football.

He said: “Last year I played for Herenveen and the positive is to play games. It’s important for every footballer to improve and also this league is very hard, I’ve seen that, and it’ll be good for me to play games and have more experience at the end of the season.

“It’s quite different with the football in Holland. If I can take bits from what I had in Holland and mix it with English football then I think it can be a good combination.

“I’m good in the air, good in duels and I think I what I have from playing in football is playing through the lines and hopefully I can bring those things.”

English football has already made a lasting impression on van Hecke who was at games against Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town upon his arrival at the club.

And he says the atmosphere of Championship matches is something he’s looking forward to being involved in.

“Everyone breathes football, you see 1,500 or 2,000 away fans, it’s crazy how many people there are,” he explained.

“The atmosphere is great here. When I was younger I wanted to play infront of fans and I’m looking forward to play infront of the fans at Ewood.

“The passion is so good, if you score everyone is so happy, when I was younger I really wanted to play infront of these fans.”

While a watching brief has given him a taste for both the team and English football, van Hecke is itching to get involved on the pitch, with a spot in the squad against Coventry City a possibility.

The Under-23s do have a Premier League 2 fixture against Manchester City which could offer him the chance for more minutes, but either way, van Hecke wants to feel part of the squad.

He said: “I was really frustrated, you’re watching the games and you it’s different feeling the atmosphere and winning a game you feel with the group, and with the games you lose you feel it as well.

“I think we’ve shown a really good fighting spirit and some really good games.

“I was there in the stadium for Cardiff which was really positive.

“It’s better if you’re coming into a winning team, everyone is happy and wants to go on and win more games.”

A bonus for van Hecke has been the international break, offering him the chance to settle in, a situation helped by having Reda Khadra, another player on loan from Brighton, already in the Rovers ranks.

The winger is himself just settling into life at Rovers after his move was delayed by injury, eventually getting his deal over the line on deadline.

Khadra has featured in five Rovers games so far, all as a substitute, and van Hecke added: “I have spoken with him two or three times, he’s told me how the players and how the games have been.

“I’ve watched the games too so I’ve had a good impression of the club and the Championship.”