Grant McCann expects goalkeeper Louis Jones to be pushing Ian Lawlor and Marko Marosi for a starting berth by the end of his latest contract after extending his deal.
Rovers have taken up the option of extending the 20-year-old’s contract for an extra year, taking him through to the summer of 2020.
And McCann has high hopes for the young shotstopper.
“He's an up-and-coming young goalkeeper who [keeper coach] Paul Gerrard things very highly of,” McCann said,
“It was important we extended him and took the option on his contract and give him another year’s progression.
“Now he’s got 17 or 18 months to kick on and try to force his way past the two we’ve got.
“He’s young and he’s getting better.
“It’s a dying breed now, getting a young goalkeeper to push. You saw the lad at Preston on Sunday [Michael Crowe] making his senior debut at 23.
“I can see Lewis pushing for a first team start and that's why we wanted to tie him down now.”
McCann admits there was a point this season when he was close to telling Jones to leave the club after he suffered a broken hand in what the Rovers boss termed an ‘immature moment.’
But he has been delighted with the reaction of the keeper since and says he is fully deserving of his contract.
“He's someone who is coming on leaps and bounds,” McCann said.
“If I'm going to be honest, earlier in the season when he got a silly injury, I was very close to moving him out of the door.
“I thought it was very immature and childish with Marko [Marosi] having just been sent off as well.
“Since then he's knuckled down, he's worked hard.
“He's a big boy. He's 6ft3, he's good with his feet, he's brave.”
Yet to make his senior debut, Jones has been an unused substitute for Rovers twice this season, adding to 19 previous appearances on the bench for the club.
He signed his first professional deal in March 2017 and this latest deal is the second time his contract has been extended.
Jones has previously spent time on loan with Gainsborough Trinity in the sixth tier and Sheffield FC in the Evo-Stik League.
While McCann will look to get more match experience for Jones in the future, he is keen for him to remain in his squad for the remainder of the campaign.
“We will do at some point but not now,” McCann said. “We can't take the risk.
“We've got three good goalkeepers but we can't send him out because if anything happens to Marko or Lawsy, we need him here.
“We need everyone together, especially in the goalkeeping department.”
Jones’ new deal reduces the number of senior players out of contract at Rovers this summer to 19 – including his fellow goalkeepers Lawlor and Marosi.