Blackburn have been left awaiting news on a knee injury for Harvey Elliott, with manager Tony Mowbray hoping “it’s just a kick” after he was forced off on Tuesday.
With Rovers visiting fellow midtable side Preston in midweek, Elliott was left out of Mowbray’s starting lineup for the first time since joining on loan from Liverpool in October.
The decision was made to manage the 17-year-old’s fitness, as one of three changes to the Blackburn side that started a 1-1 draw at Luton last time out, and the visitors went 2-0 up without their in-form No. 16.
They were also a man up, with Preston’s Joe Rafferty sent off for a coming together that led to Adam Armstrong scoring the opener from the penalty spot, with Ben Brereton adding another after the break.
Elliott replaced Joe Rothwell with 61 minutes gone, and made an early impact as his brilliant pass from the right released Brereton, who crossed for Tyrhys Dolan to fire in for 3-0.
But five minutes after the goal, following a strong challenge from ex-Everton midfielder Ryan Ledson, Elliott was left limping off with a knee problem.
The initial fears were that it could be a serious injury, but speaking after the game, Mowbray told reporters that “the early news is that we hope it’s just a kick.”
“It’s come up pretty quickly, a bruise, but it doesn’t look like it’s badly damaged,” he explained, according to the Lancashire Telegraph.
“When you think of a knee injury you think of ligaments but it doesn’t seem to be anything like that.
“Just a pretty severe kick and we’re hoping that’s all it is.”
Mowbray also detailed his decision to leave the teenager out of the starting XI, saying “people like Harvey Elliott cannot play every three days,” with Blackburn feeling the toll of a busy schedule already.
Rovers will be hoping Elliott is able to return to action swiftly, as beyond his goal and four assists in nine appearances he has been hugely influential, as evidenced by his ‘hockey assist’ on Tuesday night.
Next up for Blackburn, who moved up to 10th in the table with victory at Deepdale, is a home clash with Barnsley on Saturday, with the Tykes two points and four places below them.
Meanwhile, Wednesday night could see three Liverpool loanees in action as Marko Grujic‘s Porto take on Marseille in the Champions League and Cardiff, who could call upon Harry Wilson and Sheyi Ojo, face Coventry in the Championship.