Jack Vale has been ‘consistent’ and ‘reliable’ since returning from his loan spell and was fully deserving of his chance in the first-team, according to Under-23s boss Mike Sheron.

Vale hit four goals in the Under-23s’ final day win over Chelsea to make it 13 goals in 12 Premier League 2 appearances since returning from a loan spell at FC Halifax in the National League.

That form prompted Tony Mowbray to hand him his third first-team appearance, and second of the season, against Birmingham City earlier this month as he played the closing stages up front.

Vale will look to take his form into what promises to be a big pre-season for the 21-year-old who will have eyes on breaking into the senior set-up on a more regular basis.

Vale appears to have put his injury troubles behind him, and while loan spells at Rochdale and Halifax didn’t bring the appearances he would have hoped for, the learning experiences were there, with a more mature player returning to the club.

Of the Wales Under-21 international, Sheron said: “For Jack, you can only play what you can play against and I think he’s been consistent, he’s been reliable, he’s been competitive and he’s also been a real threat to every opponent he’s come up against.

“He’s been a game player and he’s shown a level of consistency that any coach would like to see from an individual.”

Rovers signed off their Premier League 2 campaign with a win over Chelsea at Ewood Park, as Vale hit all four in a 4-3 victory, to finish ninth in the standings.

That looked a long way off as they endured a miserable start to the season, but five wins in their final six matches, and only two defeats in 2022, saw them climb the table.

It was an excellent turn in fortunes for Sheron’s side who welcomed key players back from injury, but also saw many scholars grasp their chance in the side.

“It was tough at the start, especially with us being very young and playing one or two scholars before they were ready,” added Sheron, who was promoted from the Under-18s to replace Billy Barr.

“We’ve reaped the rewards from their confidence and belief, and we’ve added to that with Sam Barnes coming back, Jack Vale coming back.

“We’ve had a bit more experience and strength at this level and it’s been quite productive.

“I feel there’s one or two lads, certain individuals have performed particularly well.

“Sam Barnes has come back and has been someone who’s given us more confidence and there’s a bit more assured play defensively.

“Jake Garrett’s been consistent, Jack Vale’s been scoring goals and I’d like to see those lads get around the first team and see whether opportunities are there for them.”

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