Blackburn Rovers are set to sign Crewe Alexandra defender Harry Pickering and loan him straight back to the League One club, Football Insider understands.

Pickering, 22, has turned out 28 times in all competitions this season, scoring four goals and assisting two more.

A recruitment source told Football Insider that terms have been agreed for the highly-rated left-back and the deal is set to be complete in time for the 11pm transfer cut-off.

After missing two matches through injury, the Chester-born defender returned to the starting XI as Crewe drew 1-1 with fellow third-tier side Ipswich on Saturday.

This site revealed on Sunday that Rovers had struck a deal for the 22-year-old and fans may have suspected Pickering had played his last game at Gresty Road.

And while manager David Artell will no doubt be disappointed to see one of his star performers leave, he will be grateful that he is staying for the rest of the season.

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Blackburn have successfully fended off competition from Championship rivals Sheffield Wednesday to secure Pickering’s signature.

Manager Tony Mowbray’s focus this January has been on defensive recruitment, with Jarrad Branthwaite joining from Everton on loan until the end of the season.

Rovers followed that deal up with the loan signing of Taylor Harwood-Bellis from Manchester City earlier today.

This site also revealed that Blackburn are battling Lancashire rivals Preston North End for the signature of West Brom centre-back Cedric Kipre.

Pickering was a vital cog in the Crewe side that won automatic promotion to the third-tier last season.

The Cheshire-based side are pushing for promotion once again in League One and are currently just three points outside the playoff places.

In other news, a Championship club has submitted a six-figure bid for a Crewe winger.