The Easter period may well provide Tony Mowbray with the opportunity of blooding some of Rovers’ talented academy prospects in the first team.

Rovers face Queens Park Rangers on Good Friday before hosting Bolton on Easter Monday with just four games of the season to go.

Mowbray has handed 11 debuts to academy graduates since taking charge in February 2017, with Dan Butterworth, Tyler Magloire and John Buckley three players to have featured this term.

They have been an integral part of Damien Johnson’s Under-23s squad, and having agreed long-term deals at the club, could be rewarded for their progress with more first team action.

Summer signing Jacob Davenport, yet to feature for the first team because of injury, is another who could benefit from match action before the season is out, having built up his fitness with the Under-23s of late following hip and groin problems since his arrival from Manchester City.

“We’ve got four games to go, two of them over a quick period of Easter, and that might be an opportunity to give some young players a chance,” Mowbray explained.

“The young players who have not been part of the squad, they have been training with us. Butterworth, Buckley, Magloire, Jacob Davenport is back training every day.

“These young players I would like to give an opportunity to before the end of the season in a game or two.

“That doesn’t mean we don’t want to win the games.

“I won’t be filling the teams with kids, I just feel the ones who I think are good enough, and ready, to impact our team, or be around our squad next year, this will be a good opportunity to give them minutes on the pitch and be around the first team, the expectations of the coaching team, the environment before the game and at half time. We’ll try and do that at the right


Under-23s captain Magloire started the win over Wigan and defeat at Sheffield Wednesday last month in a game where Buckley made his debut off the bench.

Butterworth has two Carabao Cup appearances to his name, against Lincoln and Bournemouth, but despite being in the squad, is yet to feature in the Championship.

Mowbray sees the trio as having a big part to play in the club’s future, and feels experience in the coming games could be the perfect fillip for them to take in to pre-season.

However, Mowbray too will be conscious of the Under-23s’ Premier League Cup quarter final against Everton on Tuesday, April 23, just 24 hours after the penultimate home game with Bolton.

On the impact their involvement could have on the more senior players, Mowbray added: “The rest of the group have been together for two years, mostly, and there will be difficult decisions to make.

“If I bring in young players to the squad then I will have to leave out some of the experienced players.

“Those are decisions we’ll make over the next week or two, but for me, it’s only for the benefit of the football club.

“For me, we’ve got some talented young boys and at some stage you have to blood them and give them an opportunity to let them know how it feels to play under the expectation of the staff, the supporters, and you being judged and then see whether you can judge by that.”