YOUNGSTER John O’Sullivan is determined to become a first-team regular at Blackburn Rovers after surviving the fiercely competitive world of youth football.

The 21-year-old is the only player from the Rovers sides that started both legs of the 2012 FA Youth Cup final who is still at the club.

But after breaking into Gary Bowyer’s senior team toward the end of the campaign O’Sullivan is determined not just to make up the numbers next season.

The midfielder came on in the 3-0 win at Leeds United and made his full debut in the 2-2 draw at Birmingham City after returning from a successful loan spell in League One with Barnsley.

Now O’Sullivan, who was on loan at Accrington Stanley and Southport last year after injury halted his Rovers progress, is desperate for more.

“It’s been a great year for me,” said the Republic of Ireland U21s international, who signed a new 18-month deal with Rovers in January after they rejected a bid from Barnsley to take him to Oakwell on a permanent basis.

“I’ve gone on loan to the Conference, League Two and League One in the space of 12 months and now I’ve played for Blackburn this season, getting my first start and being brought on.

“Yes I was a little disappointed that I didn’t play more but that’s football. I couldn’t have asked for a better season.

“I just need to build on the football I’ve had this season and look forward to next season.

“Last season was tough because I was injured for half of it so nobody really knew how I was.

“But I’ve been out on loan, and done well, and now I’ll come back as a first-team squad member with a fair crack of getting in the team.

“I’ll just have to get my head down and work really hard.”

One of O’Sullivan’s first aims for the 2015-16 campaign is to make his home debut.

His three appearances for Rovers’ first team – the first of which came away at Birmingham on the final day of the 2012-13 season – have come on the road.

O’Sullivan said: “I am desperate to play at Ewood Park.

“I was sat on the bench for the last couple of weeks of the season, dying to get on.

“But I’ve got another season here and there will be a lot of games for me to push for a start or come off the bench in.”

O’Sullivan shares a house with fellow Rovers starlet and fellow Irishman Darragh Lenihan.

The out-of-contract Lenihan, who is in talks over a new deal with the club, came off the bench in the 2012 FA Youth Cup final first leg.

But of the Rovers teams to start both legs of the 4-1 aggregate loss to Chelsea, only O’Sullivan remains at the club after Jack O’Connell was sold to Brentford for £300,000 in January.

“Darragh was injured for most of it (the cup run) but we are literally the only ones left from that team,” said O’Sullivan.

“When you get told when you’re younger that only one or two of you will make it, you don’t believe it.

“But when you look back now I’m thankful I put those extra hours in to help get where I am now.

“And now I just really want to get into the first team.”