Sam Hart will return to Rovers in pre-season after spending the 2018/19 campaign out on loan and will be given every chance to impress boss Tony Mowbray.

The full back, signed from Liverpool in August 2017, is yet to start a league game for Rovers and hasn’t featured for the first team since December 2017.

However, he saw the 12 month option in his deal taken up earlier this year, keeping under contract at Ewood Park until 2020.

He finished the season at Southend United, impressing in his 18 appearances after two separate mixed spells with Rochdale in which he struggled for first team action.

There was interest from League One clubs in signing the 22-year-old on permanent deals last year, but Rovers resisted those bids.

Although Hart didn’t feature in the pre-season matches he did travel with the squad to their training camp in Austria which is set to do again this season.

And asked whether the former Liverpool youngster is likely to feature again for the first team, Mowbray said: “It is down to the footballer really. Sam was brought in to the football club, six feet tall, fast, good left foot, young guy who needed to go out in to the world of men’s football and toughen up in my opinion.

“Then we could see whether he was going to be good enough to play for Blackburn Rovers.

“He’s been at Southend and didn’t play much at Rochdale. It’s down to Sam.

“He’ll come back and do pre-season and do pre-season with us, as will a lot of the young players.

“If we think they are ready then they will be part of our squad.

“If they are not ready then I’m sure the phone will be ringing for our young players and already has for some of our Under-23s.

“The message will be that they will start the season with us and we’ll see where they are.

“If our ambition is to try and get out of the division then it’s difficult to think that a group of entirely young footballers will be able to do that in an experienced, men’s league.

“That’s the balance that we will look for.”