John Eustace is excited to take a closer look at Blackburn Rovers' emerging Academy talent after an impressive display at Accrington Stanley.

Rovers named two different XIs, with the second-half team a far more youthful side with a smattering of senior players.

Amongst those was Leo Duru and Georgie Gent, who were two of the brightest performers. Supporters are excited to see how both perform in pre-season.

Both players have speed and a willingness to take their opponent on, something the Rovers squad has lacked. Duru has an opportunity to prove he's ready to be understudy to Callum Brittain at right-back whilst Gent is versatile down the left side.


There were also opportunities for Jack Vale, who was on loan with Gent at Motherwell last season, and Connor O'Riordan. The latter wants to impress after struggling for opportunities since joining from Crewe Alexandra in January.

Eustace believes all the young players have an opportunity to impress and reiterated he will play them, if he feels they're good enough.

"That's what pre-season is all about, we can all see that the squad isn't the biggest," he said.

"The second half team was a lot of young boys coming through, lads, who went on loan, it was great to see them playing.

"I thought we were good at back, it was good to see Connor (O'Riordan) and Joe Hilton lead from the back. We have some good young players in the group.

"The 23s who were there last year are all coming in and they have all done well. Blackburn is about bringing their own players through and the fans are very proud of seeing the Academy flourish.

"That's what's happened over the years and if they're good enough, they will play and be part of the squad.

"Georgie (Gent) has come from an excellent loan last year so I'm looking forward to seeing him.

"Leo (Duru) has a really good chance as well. We have a lot of young lads coming through. They will get opportunities during pre-season, for sure."

Rovers are entering their third week back for pre-season, having returned earlier than most clubs. The priority in these early stages is fitness and also installing principles of play.

Eustace got little time on the training ground with the group last season after arriving in such a hectic period of the campaign. He wants to use pre-season as an opportunity to further develop the style of play.

"It's been great, the boys have been fantastic, like they were last year," he said.

"It's important to keep building on the good work we did last season and we add some better things to our game which we will over the next few weeks.

"Pre-season is about getting the key principles into the players, that's the most important thing. Our structure without the ball was very good again.

"We just have to remind people on things like when to fill in, push up the pitch and when to press. All these pre-season games are important for that.

"We want to play a certain way and there were glimpses of that coming out, as there was last season. I hope we can build on that in the next five or six weeks."