WANDERERS new boy Jason Lowe could be forgiven for having somewhat of an identity crisis when the new Championship campaign begins in August.

Born in Wigan and raised in Leigh, the midfielder was schooled in football from the age of 12 by Blackburn Rovers. So when he completes the local set by pulling on a Bolton shirt next month, there will be no-one better qualified to talk about rivalries in this part of Lancashire.

Four Lancashire clubs - Wanderers, Wigan, Preston and Blackburn – will play in the same division for the first time in their history next season. And while the tenacious ball-winner is better known for his work up the A666, he is looking forward to a fresh start after a difficult spell with Birmingham City.

“It’s funny the journey football takes you on sometimes,” said Lowe, who spent seven seasons at Ewood Park, captaining the club in 2016/17.

“One minute you are rivals and the next minute you’re playing for them but I’m excited to be here and put the shirt on.

“It’s good for the area. Living round here it’s better when the local clubs are fighting at a good level of football, just for the fans in general the banter that goes on between them is great. I’m sure there will be some tasty games coming up.

“Bolton have always had a good fan-base and I’m sure they’ll be backing us again this year. Hopefully we can give them something to shout about.”

Lowe is no stranger to a Lancashire derby and actually faced Wanderers seven times in a Blackburn shirt. He may not want to be reminded that his side only chalked up one victory in that period - a 4-1 triumph at Ewood against Dougie Freedman’s team in 2013.

A prolific rugby league player for Leigh East in his youth, Lowe could have picked the 13-man code but opted to stay on as a schoolboy at Rovers, making his debut against QPR in 2011.

Lowe could have signed for Bolton 12 months ago after leaving Blackburn but ended up as one of a raft of late signings made by Harry Redknapp a month before his departure at St Andrews last September.

“It just didn’t work, but that’s football sometimes, “ Lowe said ruefully. “Last year I didn’t go in until very late on. I missed out on a lot of preparation.

“This time I want to get a good pre-season under my belt.”

Lowe worked under three managers at Birmingham, a hamstring injury restricting him to just 11 matches in all. But he arrives at the Macron with a ringing endorsement from Redknapp and Garry Monk, whose opinion was sought by Phil Parkinson on the kind of character he was bringing in.

Still only 26, if Lowe can get himself back to peak form and fitness he could prove a handy replacement for the likes of Karl Henry, Darren Pratley and Jem Karacan, released at the end of the season.

“I’ll bring a lot of energy, plenty of tackles, maybe one or two bookings,” he forecasted in a broad Leigh accent which suits his surroundings perfectly.

“I can get about the pitch. I just try and play my game, I’m a team player and I’ll do whatever it takes to ensure the team wins games.

“Whatever the manager asks me to do I’ll do it to try and benefit the team.”

Lowe comes highly recommended but as the midfielder looks to put a tough 12 months in the past, he knows he cannot look for favours if he is to get off on the right foot at Bolton.

“We’re in a man’s game and you’ve got to have belief in yourself,” he said. “You have got to have confidence in what you can bring to a team.

“It’s nice to know that the manager is backing you. It gives you that little boost. But you should know yourself, you shouldn’t need it really. You should be bringing it on a daily basis.”