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Young guns could earn their chance

Opportunity could arrive for a number of Rovers starlets in the final four games of the season

17 April 2019

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With four games remaining in the 2018-19 campaign, Tony Mowbray says an opportunity may crop up for some of the talented Under-23s youngsters.

Mowbray has handed professional debuts to a number of Academy graduates already this season, with Tyler Magloire and John Buckley both featuring in the first team in recent weeks.

And after Rovers' position in the Championship next season was secured in the win at Nottingham Forest last weekend, the boss has confirmed more young talent could be blooded in the first team in the final four games.

“We’ve got some Under-23s that can really make a big impact for the football club over the next year or two," the boss told iFollow Rovers.

“It’s just about giving them the opportunity and I have said that once we are mathematically safe I would give them the chance.

“It is a balancing act though. The team has done fantastically well over the last two games and probably deserves a shot at QPR, but if we can give young players a chance over the last four games, as a reward for how close they are to the first team, then we will.

“It’s all a learning curve for them, which is why I’ve taken one or two along to away games with us to experience being on the coach with the lads, the team meetings, the preparations.

“I have every intention of playing the youngsters, but it comes down the opposition and to make sure all the players keep up the hard work and finish the season strongly.

“When they get the opportunity they need to take it. There are no throw away games - every game matters.

“The team that’s just beaten Nottingham Forest and Derby County want to play and don’t deserve to have mass drop outs.

“We need to get the youngsters ready for a long career in the Rovers first team."

And Mowbray has challenged Damien Johnson's Development Squad to keep up the fine work and desire to earn their opportunity, admitting things can change for better or for worse in football.

“Less than a year ago the likes of [Willem] Tomlinson, [Lewis] Hardcastle and [Lewis] Travis will have been running around in midfield for the Under-23s," he added.

“Hardcastle and Tomlinson have moved on and Travis has pressed on to the first team. Young Buckley is now a regular in the Under-23s and has had a seamless line through from the Under-18s.

"We want a similar seamless line from the Under-23s to the first team.

“If you’re good enough then it doesn’t matter how old you are. We’ve seen Travis take the opportunity, Magloire and Buckley have both had a taste of the first team and I was hugely impressed by Jack Vale when I saw him against Manchester City the other night.

“Magloire showed his power and acceleration that night, [Joe] Rankin-Costello is a real talent as well, coming back from 11 months out, he can play anywhere and can score goals wherever he plays.

"At some stage these boys need opportunities."

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