Tony Mowbray has revealed that Daniel Ayala will play a part in the Development Squad's penultimate Premier League 2 Division 1 clash against Chelsea Under-23s at Kingsmeadow.
The Spanish centre back will be on the bus for the trip south and is set to make his first appearance of 2021.
The former Middlesbrough man has suffered an injury-ravaged first campaign at Ewood Park and has appeared just nine times since his summer arrival in East Lancashire.
The last outing for the 30-year-old came against Hudderfield Town at the John Smith's Stadium back in December.
However, now fully fit, Ayala will get game time before the season comes to a close.
“The bottom line is that Daniel was brought here to help our team, keep clean sheets and to win us football matches," the boss said when discussing the defender's first season as a Rovers player.
“He’d done it for Middlesbrough plenty of times in the past but it hasn’t happened for us this season unfortunately.
“It’s all about pre-season for Daniel and he needs to get himself fit, robust, strong and mentally ready to take on the season.
“We’re hopeful that it will be a normal season where it’s not 25 midweek games and it’s six or seven midweek games instead.
“We’re hopeful he can help this team next season to win football matches.
“It’s been frustrating for us all. It’s never easy for footballers when they’re injured and striving to get fit on their own every day," he added.
“It’s been a tough few months for Daniel but it's been good to have him back training with the lads for the past week or so now.
“He’s shown what a good footballer he is. For a big, aggressive lad he’s shown how tidy he is with the ball.
“He’s kicked one or two in training as well and that’s a good sign.
“So let’s hope he comes through Friday’s game against Chelsea and then we’ll see whether he gets any game time next weekend against Birmingham City.”
Whilst Ayala won't be available for selection for the first team's trip to Rotherham United this weekend, Mowbray has no fresh injury concerns and expects a similar squad to the one that brushed Huddersfield aside at Ewood Park last time out.
“There’s no dramatic changes and I’m not anticipating too many changes from a team that scored five goals and did pretty well in the last game," Mowbray added.
“I’ve always said how I don’t pick the same team just because they’ve won a game.
“We won’t keep the same team but I don’t think we’ll be too far away from the squad selected for the game against Huddersfield Town last time out.