Rovers Under-23s return to action this afternoon when West Ham United make the trip to Leyland in Premier League 2 Division 1.
Lineup will be displayed here shortly before the game
Connor McBride scored twice, as Rovers Under-23s returned to winning ways with a convincing 4-1 victory at home to West Ham.
The win moved Billy Barr’s side back up to second in the Premier League 2 table, level on points with leaders Manchester City.
McBride opened the scoring from the spot midway through the first half, before grabbing his second of the game just minutes after the restart, to take his tally for the season into double figures.
Keenan Appiah-Forson pulled a goal back for the visitors just before the hour mark, but Rovers replied on 71 minutes when Joe Nolan’s strike was turned into his own net by Emmanuel Longelo.
The hosts then made the points safe – and secured an eighth win from 15 league games – three minutes from time, when substitute Sam Durrant’s centre was turned home by Luke Brennan at the back post.
Ahead of the game, Barr made five changes to the side that lost 6-4 away to Manchester United last time out – a game in which McBride also bagged a brace – with Joe Rankin-Costello making his comeback after three months out with a hamstring injury.
Along with Rankin-Costello, who came through 45 minutes unscathed at right-back, Antonis Stergiakis, Louie Annesley, Isaac Whitehall and Sam Burns all started, in place of Jordan Eastham, Lenni Rae Cirino, Jared Harlock, Zak Gilsenan and Corry Evans.
Played in a swirling wind, which made life difficult for the two teams throughout, the game sprung to life on five minutes when Dan Pike played a clever pass over the top to Whitehall, who brought the ball under control, before seeing his header saved by Joseph Anang.
Straight down the other end, West Ham played a ball over the Rovers defence to Sean Adarkwa, who was denied by Stergiakis in similar circumstances.
Rovers threatened again on 10 minutes when Rankin-Costello delivered a deep cross from the right, but the unmarked McBride was unable to direct his header on target.
The Hammers had an excellent opportunity to open the scoring on 17 minutes when the lively Nathan Holland got in behind down the left, but his low drive forced a fine save from the legs of Stergiakis.
At the midway point in the half, Rovers did take the lead. After being brought down by Dan Chesters in the area, McBride stepped up to score his ninth goal of the season from the spot.
West Ham looked to hit back on 34 minutes when Kai Corbett unleashed a crisp strike from distance, but Stergiakis showed a safe pair of hands to make the save.
The visitors threatened again just before the break, as Holland had another effort saved by Strergiakis and Longelo’s effort on the follow-up was brilliantly blocked.
In added time at the end of the first half, Holland again broke free down the left and, after twisting and turning in the area to create space for a shot, his firm strike was superbly saved by Stergiakis to keep it out.
After weathering that late storm at the end of the first half, Rovers doubled their lead at the start of the second.
Just two minutes after the interval, Brennan delivered a pin-point cross from the right and McBride was lurking at the back post to steer home his 10th of the season.
The hosts came close to a third on 50 minutes when McBride fed Jake Garrett on the overlap, but he smashed a shot into the side-netting.
On 58 minutes, a Rovers corner was cleared as far as Nolan, whose shot fell kindly to Sam Barnes, but he was twice unable to force it home from close range.
Straight down the other end, Holland got to the byline and saw his near-post effort just kept out by Stergiakis, but from the resulting corner, the Hammers halved the deficit when Appiah-Forson’s shot found the back of the net.
Rovers responded well, with Burns twice coming close to adding a third in a matter of minutes, as he was just unable to get a decisive touch on Pike’s cross-shot, before he fired straight at Anang after being played in by Ben Paton.
The goal Rovers’ display deserved did arrive on 71 minutes when Nolan found himself in a shooting position on the left side of the area and his goal-bound effort was diverted into the roof of the net by Longelo.
From that point, West Ham never looked like they were going to get back into the game and Rovers made the points safe on 87 minutes when Burns played in Durrant and his shot across goal was tapped home by Brennan at the far post.
Rovers return to action next Friday when they travel to Tottenham Hotspur.
ROVERS: Stergiakis, Rankin-Costello (Paton 46), Barnes, Annesley, Pike, Garrett, Whitehall (Harlock 83), Nolan, Brennan, McBride (Durrant 65), Burns.
Subs not used: Eastham, Cirino.
Goals: McBride (24 pen, 47), Longelo OG (71), Brennan (87)
WEST HAM: Anang, Chesters, Longelo, Coventry, Okotcha, Baptiste, Corbett, Appiah-Forson, Adarkwa, Ashley (Dju 62), Holland (Fevrier 80).
Subs not used: Jinadu, Adebayo, Potts.
Booked: Ashley (38), Coventry (78)
Goal: Appiah-Forson (59)