THE decision for Rekeem Harper to return to West Bromwich Albion was the right one, according to Rovers boss Tony Mowbray.

The 17-year-old played just nine times during his four months on loan at Ewood Park, not helped by his sending off in the FA Cup tie with Crewe last month.

The emergence of Willem Tomlinson, who had overtaken Harper in the pecking order in recent weeks, means the possibility of bringing a replacement for the Baggies teenager will be put on the backburner for now.

Rovers had pursued Harper for several weeks before signing him on transfer deadline day in August. The youngster penned a long-term contract at The Hawthorns earlier that month having just made his Premier League debut.

But after just one league start for Rovers, Harper was recalled by the Baggies on Tuesday.

“I think it was right for Rekeem to go back ultimately,” Mowbray told the Lancashire Telegraph.

“As I said to him and to his agent there’s no agenda, I pick a team through what I feel in my stomach.

“At 17 years old, he’s just a boy really, away from his family, away from his club, living in a hotel and I don’t think the scenario was right, he wasn’t playing enough football for us and West Brom agreed.

“I had some good chats with (West Brom coach) Darren Moore and we agreed the best thing for a 17-year-old was to go back to his parents, back to his parent club, play some Under-23s football and develop his career because he’s such a young boy.”

Tomlinson, who has featured in five of Rovers’ last seven games in all competitions, could start today’s FA Cup clash with Hull City and of his midfield options, Mowbray said: “I think the young lads create great competition.

“At the end of the day the young players underneath have to try and push on, if not then we will bring players in.

“Ultimately, while you want your own young players to develop and get in the team they have to make an impact so that we continue to win and if there are other players out there that we feel will be able to improve the team then we will look to try and do that as well.

“I just want to try and build a club of talented young players, hopefully from within our club and they can push on and become first-team players but we can’t wait.

“If the right players become available for the right price then we will try and improve our team.”