The 19-year-old has been tipped as a star of the future for some time now, but with every promising performance for the Under-23s comes a clamour for more first-team inclusion.

Mahoney, not 20 until next month, has become a more regular name in the matchday 18 in recent weeks, though his wait for a first-team outing goes on.

Lancashire Telegraph:

He netted three goals in the Under-23s’ last two outings in 2016, and while he looks set to continue the start of the year still with Damien Johnson’s men, it might be long before his knocking at the door can be ignored.

The unfortunate thing for Mahoney is, despite his versatility, the attacking areas aren’t where Rovers have been struggling, even though the return of Martin Samuelsen to West Ham may have offered some light. His case could be further strengthened should Marvin Emnes’ stay at Roves from Swansea not be extended.

More impressive showings, and goals, for the under-23s, will only further help push his claims.

Owen Coyle’s admiration is clear however, with the club keen to tie the former Accrington man down to a long-term contract.


Nyambe made his first-team breakthrough in 2016, but 2017 could be the year when the teenager nails down a spot in the Blackburn Rovers back four.

Right-back is one position where Rovers have tinkered in recent years, with Ben Marshall the current incumbent, though more naturally a right winger, while Jason Lowe, a central midfielder, has also filled in.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Adam Henley has struggled with injuries of late having started the season in possession of that slot, but he is out of contract in the summer, so Nyambe may sense an opportunity to force his way in.

He has let no-one down in his appearances to date, and certainly possesses the physical qualities needed to adapt to life in the Championship, Nyambe, 19, hasn’t had any first-team experience away from Rovers, so would be learning on the job somewhat, but Coyle has already been impressed with what he’s seen, and more opportunities could soon follow.


Lancashire Telegraph:

Still just 17, and while talk of first-team inclusion is very premature, it will be interesting to watch the progress of the midfielder during 2017.

He is already establishing himself as a firm fixture in Damien Johnson’s Under-23s side, as he plays above his age group, while also featuring for the Under-18s in the FA Youth Cup.

The teenager joined Rovers from Manchester United in 2014, and will be well known for Football Manager aficionados for his impressive potential on the virtual game.

But he has shown he is the real deal in reality, scoring a stunning goal in Rovers’ Premier League 2 cup win over Burnley at Ewood Park earlier this season, having scored twice for the Under-21s last season, and eight further times for the under-18s, including two in their run to the last four of the FA Youth Cup.

Rankin-Costello is blossoming in to a promising attacking midfielder, with Rovers keen to secure his long-term future at the club with suitors only likely to grow given his rapid rate of development.

He played for the under-23s in their Checkatrade Trophy clash at Fleetwood in August, a month after his 17th birthday, and more cup appearances could follow in the latter half of 2017.