THERE is a buzz of expectation around Blackburn Rovers’ Brockhall academy these days as a group of hopeful young footballers see their hopes and dreams start to look a whole lot more realistic.

Jason Lowe is just the latest home-grown academy product to have been given his first team wings at Ewood Park and, ahead of this afternoon’s trip to Newcastle United, boss Steve Kean insists his youth revolution isn’t finished yet.

His vision of one day being able to select a Premier League side made up most of ‘Rovers’ own’ may be a while off – but if Lowe’s recent emergence is anything to go by, it isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Phil Jones’ £16million move to Manchester United was Rovers’ obvious success story, but in the last couple of years fellow academy products Junior Hoilett, Martin Olsson, Grant Hanley, Josh Morris, Robbie Cotton and Lowe have all made the step up.

At least four of them will be involved in today’s Toon trip and with an extra spring in the step of those playing for the reserves and youth teams, the future of Blackburn Rovers certainly seems to be in safe hands.

“Is it a gamble?” said Kean. “It is if the lads are not up to it but we believe our youngsters are.

“We had a couple of brief glimpses of Jason Lowe last season, when he did a job on Frank Lampard and he played excellently against QPR the week before.

“It is a good sign that the senior players are giving him the ball all the time because they trust him. He went away with England under 20s, captained that side and the England staff gave him rave reviews.

“That much so that England under 21 boss Stuart Pearce was up at the training ground to have a look at him close hand and he is progressing well.

“He is normally a mid-field player but he has showed his adaptability by playing full back.

“I think his athletic abilities show he can play there as well.

“Jason has shown he has qualities, he is a fantastic young pro with the amount of hours he is in the building each day.

“He is top notch.”

Lowe is very much a north west boy. He was born in Wigan and has been at Blackburn Rovers ever since the age of 12.

When you consider the likes of Morris, Cotton – who has just signed a professional contract aged 17 – Hanley and Hoilett have all also been at the club from a young age, Rovers are obviously doing something right.

Kean said: “I certainly think it adds something for the fans when the see the local boys coming through. Jason went to school locally and probably some of the fans know his parents and probably went to school with him.

“That helps because when you see one of your own, playing the way he does, the fans really enjoy that.

“You have to go through the whole depth of the club. What we don’t want to do is block the pathway.

“If we have these special young players coming through like Jason Lowe, like Robbie Cotton, then what you don’t do is clog that up with players of similar types.

“You clear the pathway for them to come through.

“Why can’t the majority of our team one day be made up of home grown players? You always need a bit of experience to hold the young lads together though, like Paul Robinson, Michel Salgado, Chris Samba, Vinny Grella, Jason Roberts, Yakubu.”

The majority of top flight youth team players up and down country will probably never make the grade as they continue to see their route blocked by the continuing influx of average foreigners into the so-called best league in the world.

The cream of the crop will always find a way through.

The likes of Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere, Chelsea’s Josh McEach-ran and Manchester United’s Tom Cleverley and even former Rover Phil Jones don’t need to worry, they were always going to get their chance.

But what about the next group of youngsters? They might not be a next Wayne Rooney but the constant arrival of cheap foreign talent just looking to make a quick buck has undoubtedly stopped a lot from getting their Premier League chance.

Rovers are determined to not follow the trend.

Kean said: “I have an academy background myself.

“I ran academies at Reading and Fulham and if youngsters get the opportunity, sometimes that is all they need.

“Youngsters need that opp-ortunity to play in the best league in the world and if they are good enough they come through.”