For the second successive summer Hayden Carter will return to Rovers having starred on loan in League One and the defender insists: ‘I need to be playing games’.

Carter made 22 successive starts for Portsmouth, walking away with their goal of the season prize, and winning rave reviews.

Pompey are desperate to have him back for next season, and while Carter’s priority will be to make it in the Championship with Rovers, a return to Fratton Park isn’t something he will rule out.

Rovers turned down loan offers for Carter last summer, the 22-year-old needed around the squad due to injuries elsewhere in the squad, and he made nine appearances in the first half of the campaign.

But form and fitness in the Rovers ranks freed up Carter to move out on loan, with Portsmouth winning the race for his signature.

His focus will be on impressing in pre-season for Rovers, but after taste of regular football with Portsmouth, and Burton Albion last season when he was named runner-up in their player of the year vote, Carter says game-time is vital.

He said: “I’ve had a couple of loans now and played 13 times for Blackburn, so I feel what I need to be doing is playing for them.

“I can’t be loitering, sitting on the bench and playing the odd Under-23s match because that’s not what football is about, football’s about playing games, winning games. I’m at that stage of my career where I need to be doing that.

“I am definitely ready for the Championship. I’ve had two really good loan spells in League One and believe I have done really well – the next step in my career is to play regularly in the Championship.

“Now I am ready to step into their first-team in the Championship.

“I signed a new deal in August, so hopefully can progress from that and get into the team in the Championship and play regularly.”

Pompey boss Danny Cowley has indicated that a loan, or permanent, move for Carter would be among his summer priorities, though with still two years left to run on his deal at Rovers the latter looks unlikely.

“Firstly, I’ll go back to Blackburn for pre-season as fit as I can ready for the season ahead and see what the manager thinks and what’s best for my career,” Carter told the Portsmouth News.

“I wouldn’t say coming back to Pompey is not possible – and I wouldn’t say it’s definitely going to happen.

“You never know in football, if the option (of Pompey) came up and I feel that’s the best thing for my career in terms of playing games and developing then I would be open to it.”

“But, at the moment, it’s just a case of having a rest, going back to Blackburn as fit as possible and seeing what happens.”

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