In-form striker Sam Burns is working to get even better after a fine personal start to the season.

Teenager Burns has eight goals in nine games for Rovers Under-23s, including one in the Premier League Cup victory over Middlesbrough.

Only Manchester City’s James McAtee, subject of an £8m bid from Brighton last week, has more goals in the top flight of Academy football than Burns who has already doubled his tally from the whole of last season.

He has nailed down the No.9 spot in Mike Sheron’s side, but the Under-23s boss believes there are still aspects of his game that Burns can improve in a bid to push towards a first-team spot, though a loan move in January looks the most likely course of action.

He has pushed ahead of last season’s top scorer Connor McBride in the pecking order, and Sheron told the Lancashire Telegraph: “We’re working a lot with Sam, his workrate, his energy, his enthusiasm, his personality, it all comes out within a game of football.

“He has areas of his game that he needs to improve technically, he knows that and we know that, and we’re trying to develop him tactically and I think we’re getting there, gradual improvements, which is all we can ask.

“He’s willing to do that, listen and learn and we’re pleased with the way the season is progressing for him.

“I’m really pleased with how Sam is keeping his goals tally ticking over.

“You can never fault Sam for his effort and I’m sure he’ll keep going and keep developing the areas that he needs to improve.”

Burns penned a 12-month contract in the summer, with the option of a year, but has still only featured once for the first-team, that being in the opening pre-season friendly at AFC Fylde.

The 19-year-old has always been a tireless worker, but has also a greater goal threat to his game and become first-choice in attack for Sheron.

McBride, who was set to go out on loan on deadline day only for that to fall through, hit 13 goals in his debut season for the Under-23s was the star man last season.

He netted in the pre-season friendly with Leeds United and has also featured on the bench for the first-team, but has found himself out of the Under-23s side in recent weeks.

Luke Brennan, who made his first-team debut against Nottingham Forest last season, is another on the fringes of the Under-23s, but Sheron believes the pair can both force their way back into the reckoning.

He added: “I think Luke and Connor generally will be disappointed they’re not starting at the minute but I’m convinced their opportunities will come because they’re two good players and they’re going to offer a lot to us this season and hopefully be in and around the first-team by the end of the season.

“The options are there, it’s great to have young Harry Leonard come on and score, he’s a really good footballer, and I was really pleased to see him get a goal for us.

“We have difficult decisions to make in the future, but I want to reiterate that football is a team game and as long as we keep trying to do the right things for the team, and you do the work to the best of your ability, then we’ll be okay.”