Blackburn Rovers return for pre-season training in one month's time and it will be an opportunity for their Academy talent to impress John Eustace.

Rovers have already announced warm-up matches against Accrington Stanley, Wigan Athletic and Stockport County as well as a warm-weather trip to Austria. Three more friendlies are expected to be confirmed, with an Ewood Park fixture to round-off the summer.

Whilst Rovers want to improve their squad in the transfer market, the summer will be a chance for Eustace to assess those who could make the step up from within. In the heat of a relegation battle, those opportunities have been few and far between thus far.

Players such as Zak Gilsenan, Leo Duru, Jake Batty and Georgie Gent will see opportunities in the squad that they can take advantage of. It was the same for Adam Wharton and Jake Garrett two years ago and they didn't look back.

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Stuart Jones, Head of Academy, left the group with that clear message before their summer break.

"That was the message we left the players with when they finished the season," he told The Lancashire Telegraph.

"Ultimately, the new gaffer is here, it's been relentless from the first-team perspective with all the games, so he's not had much time to use young players even if they have been around training.

"There is a real opportunity for the players to go and have a break but the message is to come back and show the manager in pre-season. You'll be in his eye and it's very important to look after yourself over the outer season.

"Come back and go make a claim for a first-team squad position."

Rovers' audit of their Under-21s has seen the club say goodbye to a number of players who have been with the club for many years. It's without doubt, the toughest part of the Academy staff's job.

On the flip side, new deals for Duru and James Edmondson have reiterated the club's commitment to tying down their talent early.

"It's not just tough for the players, their families have committed vast amounts of hours, miles across the country to support their kids and the Academy," Jones said on those leaving.

"These decisions are never easy. We have to look at it in the sense of where the players are at, age, pathways. That's what goes into these decisions.

"It's never easy, every year it is very tough. We wish them all the best in their career and for their commitments to the football club and Academy."

He added: "It's very important that players, who might be slightly younger, see a pathway and a high potential. As a club, we have to look after the assets in the building too.

"We've tied them down long-term, as we did with Adam when he went into the first team. It's really important to continue doing that as a football club.

"That goes back to the support from the owners and the financial investment in young players, ensuring there is a long-term pathway at the club."