Rovers have confirmed the signing of Manchester City centre-back Taylor Harwood-Bellis on loan until the end of the season.
The 19-year-old has made four senior appearances for the Premier League giants this season, as well as seven for the Elite Development Squad.
Harwood-Bellis joins a Rovers side in pursuit of the top six, but with only two recognised senior centre-backs available following injuries to Daniel Ayala, Scott Wharton and Derrick Williams – the latter two unlikely to feature again this season.
Rovers had targeted the City centre-back earlier this window in their search for a centre-back, but opted to bring in Jarrad Branthwaite from Everton, with the youngster settling well to life at Ewood.
Tony Mowbray’s work with Premier League youngsters previously – such as former City defender Tosin Adarabioyo and Harrison Reed – has seen managers trust the Rovers boss with their youngsters, and the evidence is clear here that the Manchester-based club believe Mowbray is the man to help progress Harwood-Bellis’ game – as he did with Adarabioyo.
The defender has been with City since the age of six, and was a regular member of the youth side that reached the 2019 and 2020 finals – winning the latter after defeating Rovers U18 in the semi-finals.
It is likely that Pep Guardiola will want Harwood-Bellis to receive regular playing time, and with Jarrad Branthwaite expecting the same alongside captain Darragh Lenihan, we could see a switch in formation from Rovers.
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