TONY Mowbray hopes Dominic Samuel will feature for Rovers in pre-season after revealing the striker has been taking in extra sessions during the summer.

Samuel is close to returning from nine months out with a knee ligament injury sustained in the 2-2 draw with Reading last August.

The 25-year-old isn’t yet fit enough to join in with the first-team squad for full training and hasn’t travelled for the pre-season training camp in Austria.

But the Rovers boss believes Samuel, a £500,000 signing from Reading in the summer of 2017, will be fit to feature in pre-season.

And he revealed that he has been taking in extra sessions with first-team coach David Lowe at the club’s Brockhall training base throughout the summer.

“He is maybe two or three weeks away from being fully fit and joining in with the group,” Mowbray told the Lancashire Telegraph.

“I am disappointed that he’s not coming but quite rightly we have to be mindful that he’s been out for nine months and coming back from a long-term injury.

“Let’s not rush him back if he’s a little bit short.

“He is not ready to be tackled and have that physical contact.

“We will build him up and sure he will be involved in a few pre-season friendlies.

“He has been coming in during pre-season and doing some finishing drills with him.”

Samuel enjoyed an impressive pre-season last summer and scored in the 3-0 friendly win over Everton.

He started the opening day fixture at Ipswich Town on the right wing, before suffering a serious knee injury against his former club later that month.

Rovers have added Ben Brereton to their ranks since then, with Mowbray admitting last season he felt he was a striker light given Samuel’s injury.

That is something he is looking to address in the transfer market, with former loanee, and Southampton striker, Sam Gallagher a long-term target.

Samuel hasn’t scored for Rovers since a brace in the FA Cup second round tie against Crewe in December 2017.

His had a productive start to life in a Rovers shirt, scoring five goals in his first months at the club but has since had a dip in confidence having lost his place to Danny Graham.

Posting on social media about his return to pre-season, Samuel wrote: “Been a long old road back to ball but it’s finally come. Buzzing to see the boys.”

The first of Rovers’ six pre-season friendlies is at Barrow on July 6.