Rovers look set to have a new central defender in their ranks before the weekend visit of Stoke City.

Jarrad Branthwaite is expected to arrive on loan from Premier League side Everton as the club’s first signing of the January window.

Branthwaite has been a main target for the club this month as they looked to add a central defender to their ranks following the injuries to Daniel Ayala, Derrick Williams and Scott Wharton within the last six weeks.

That has led to Bradley Johnson being forced to slot in at centre back for three matches, but Branthwaite is set to arrive to provide a valuable option in that area.

The teenager has made four Premier League appearances for the Toffees since his move from Carlisle United last year, and has been on the bench for their most recent four matches.

That was until the win at Wolves on Tuesday when he wasn’t included in the matchday squad, with Everton boss Ancelotti having sanctioned a loan move away.

And that looks set to be to Rovers who have beaten off competition from a number of Championship rivals.

Branthwaite played against Rovers’ Under-23s side last month and will bring balance to the options being left-footed, with Williams and Wharton set to miss the remainder of the season.