Jack Vale signed off his Under-23s season in red-hot form, but he’s hoping there’s one final chance to impress.

The striker hit all four goals in Rovers’ 4-3 win over Chelsea at Ewood Park and now has his sights set on featuring for the first-team at Birmingham City this weekend.

With Rovers unable to finish in the play-offs after the 3-0 home defeat to Bournemouth, there is the opportunity to experiment on the final day with now nothing riding on the game.

That could give Vale a chance to make what would only be a second appearance of the season.

Since returning from a loan spell at FC Halifax, Vale has scored 13 times in 12 Premier League 2 appearances, including three hat-tricks.

And eyeing a chance on the final day, the 21-year-old said: “I’ve played well recently, maybe I get my chance against Birmingham, but we’ll have to see.

“If I don’t get my chance at the weekend then I’ll come in pre-season and look to carry on this form.”

Vale has long been touted to make an impact at Rovers, but injuries have hindered his progress, while loan moves to Rochdale and FC Halifax haven’t worked out as hoped in terms of appearances or goals.

Yet the Wales Under-21 international, who hit a hat-trick for his country against Bulgaria earlier this season, believes his spell in non-league in the first half of the season brought its benefits.

He credits that with bringing on his game off the ball which has allowed him to flourish when returning to the Under-23s set-up.

“With the loan at Halifax I got to experience there, it was good for me and I felt like it matured me a lot to play men’s football,” he explained.

“Coming back down to Under-23s I felt comfortable, working hard, showing my intensity that I’ve learned from Halifax and I think that’s shown since I’ve been back, with the goals that I’ve scored.

“For me it was more off the ball, working hard, my intensity and showing that I can be more of a first-team player.

“If you get that experience it’s good for you.

“You feel more of a man in the Under-23s, it’s a lot different from first-team level and I feel that’s helped me loads.”

When returning from his loan, Vale trained solely with the Under-23s.

But he has since been called up to the Senior Training Centre to be with the first-team, culminating in his substitute appearance against Millwall in March.

That is one of only two appearances for the first-team, his debut being a cameo in the penultimate game of the 2020/21 season.

Vale feels he has done enough to catch the manager’s eye, and believes he’s shown an increased durability to show he’s ready for the first-team environment.

He added: “I’ve had my problems with injuries, now I’ve got loads of 90 minutes under my belt and I’m going to carry on doing what I can.”

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