BLACKBURN Rovers chairman John Williams insists the club will always pursue every possible avenue into snapping up the country's best young talent.

It follows Blackburn's move to offer keepy-uppy' king Alex Marrow a contract until the end of the season.

Teenager Marrow was handed his big chance at Rovers by manager Mark Hughes after winning a competition last month.

The 17-year-old midfielder - a part-time plasterer from Astley, Greater Manchester - has already played for Blackburn's Under 18s, and he earned a 20-minute run-out in the reserve team victory over Manchester United last Thursday.

Having previously made a number of first-team appear-ances for Ashton Athletic in Vodkat League Division Two, Marrow will now look to follow in the footsteps of Rovers striker Matt Derby-shire, who was plucked from now-defunct Great Harwood Town after slipping through the local scouting network as a schoolboy.

With Rovers fighting against the Premier League's top clubs for the best local talent, Williams admits it is prudent to explore every opportunity to uncover a potential hidden gem.

"From our point of view, we cannot afford to miss any opportunity to pick up good young players," said the Rovers chairman.

"Matt Derbyshire is a good example. It's important that we don't turn our backs on promising young players like him. We must explore every avenue.

"With Alex, he came to us after he won a keepy-uppy competition and he's been recommeded by (Rovers reserve team boss) Glyn Hodges.

"They already like him down there. They've seen something in him, and we've given him a contract until the end of the season.

"It gives the lad a few months to show us what he's all about, and he's already had a little taste of things in the reserves against Manchester United."