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Tony Mowbray reveals these Blackburn Rovers young stars will be in first-team plans this season

Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph, Blackburn Rovers manager Tony Mowbray has revealed that youngsters Joe Rankin-Costello and John Buckley will not be heading out on loan this summer, with the pair set to be given the chance to fight for first-team places.

Over the course of pre-season, Blackburn Rovers youngsters John Buckley and Joe Rankin-Costello have featured heavily, impressing manager Tony Mowbray in the run-up to the start of the Championship season.

It had been assumed that the young pair would head out on loan for the upcoming season to gather some more first-team experience before being blooded into the first-team at Ewood Park, but their pre-season performances have seen them thrust into the limelight.

Buckley made two Championship appearances last summer, while Rankin-Costello has been impressing in the Under-23s side after returning from a long-term injury.

“I think some of the young players, Buckley, Rankin-Costello, they are right in there with the first team players now and threatening starting positions,” Mowbray said.

“Everyone knows that. Everyone is getting judged on what’s happening now, not what’s happened in the past and that’s the way it’s got to be.

“If Buckley and Rankin-Costello, and a few others, Butterworth and Grayson, they have to keep going and try and force their way in. John Buckley will not be going out on loan.

“We have spoken to Butterworth. We will see how he is fitness-wise but the plan, for now, is to keep him around us.

“Rankin-Costello is showing me that he is real competition, even though he’s a goalscoring midfield player, for the right-back position. Joe is a very versatile player and if you pick up injuries you have to have players that you can trust.

“At this moment my thinking isn’t to send these players out on loan, they will be competing to get in the squad. That’s what will happen. We’ll watch training this week and pick the team on the back of that.”

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