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Back to Baggies the best option for Rekeem, says Tony

The boss reflects on Rekeem's stay as a Rover and the reasoning behind his return to West Brom

4 January 2018

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Rovers boss Tony Mowbray admits Rekeem Harper's return to West Brom was the right decision for all parties.

Rekeem spent the first half of this season on loan at Ewood from the Baggies but struggled for regular gametime in the centre of midfield during his stay, appearing just nine times.

The teenager was originally meant to remain in East Lancashire for the whole campaign. But with a lack of minutes and strong competition, Mowbray believes the youngster will be happier on and off the pitch back at his parent club.

"The young lads created great competition and I think it was right for Rekeem to go back," the boss said honestly.

"At 17 he's just a boy really, living away from his family in a hotel, not playing as much as he'd like and we felt the best thing for him was to go back, play some Under-21 football at West Brom and head home.

"We have the likes of [Lewis] Hardcastle and [Willem] Tomlinson pushing [Richie] Smallwood, [Corry] Evans and [Peter] Whittingham. We want them to push on."

But Tony insists it hasn't put him off dipping into the loan market for future signings, although he is eager to produce from within.

"I want to build a club with young, hungry players, hopefully from our own system. I'm wary of having five or six loan players in your squad because come the end of the season they all go.

"Some come in expecting to play every week and when they don't then it becomes difficult to manage the situation.

"Loans are much more difficult on a week-to-week basis."

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