Sam Burns scores a hat-trick as Blackburn Rovers XI beat Darwen FC

Sam Burns scored a hat-trick as a Rovers XI prevailed 6-0 in a pre-season friendly at Darwen FC on Tuesday night.

Burns kicked off his pre-season campaign perfectly by scoring Rovers’ first three goals at the WEC Anchor Ground.

The striker finished the season on loan at Scunthorpe United, scoring twice for the League Two side as they failed to avoid relegation to the National League.

Burns, who played for the first team in pre-season last summer, was not part of the 28-man squad that traveled for the week-long training camp in Portugal.

But he highlighted his involvement in upcoming friendlies with three goals against the Salmoners.

New Rovers Under-23 assistant manager Mark Burton was in charge on the night, his first game with the team, with Under-23 boss Mike Sheron with the first team in Portugal.

The majority of Academy players who are not in Portugal have got minutes under their belt, with the Under-23s having another friendly on Saturday when they travel to Workington.

Burns’ brace gave Rovers the lead at the break, and he followed that up with a third just before the hour mark.

George Chmiel was introduced as a half-time substitute and made it 4-0 midway through the second half.

A test player made it 5-0 with 14 minutes remaining, while Dominik Biniek joined fellow Polish junior international Chmiel on the scoresheet in adding a sixth moments later.

The squad was a mix of scholars and Under-23 regulars such as Burns, Jared Harlock and Jalil Saadi.

Lenni Cirino, who missed the second half of the season with a hamstring injury, was introduced in the second half as he continues his return to full fitness.

Rovers will play Premier League 2 football for the fifth consecutive season in 2022/23 after a strong end to the last campaign which saw them finish in ninth place.


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