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Boss impressed with young full backs

Tony Mowbray has been pleased by what he's seen from Joe Rankin-Costello and Sam Hart this pre-season

19 July 2019

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The emergence of Joe Rankin-Costello and Sam Hart in the full back areas this pre-season has given Tony Mowbray food for thought.

The pair have featured regularly in the early pre-season outings so far, with the duo appearing for the full 90 minutes in the midweek win over Mansfield Town.

Rankin-Costello popped up with some important goals for Rovers' Under-23s side at the back end of last season, whilst Hart played his part in Southend United's League One survival fight that came down to the final day in 2018-19.

And speaking after the encounter at Field Mill against The Stags on Wednesday night, Mowbray was left impressed by the young defenders.

“Both Joe and Sam have done very well," the manager told reporters post-match.

"[Ryan] Nyambe is back, he’s been back the last few days and we gave him half an hour in the behind closed doors game against Macclesfield.

“We also have Elliott Bennett, who’s a 30-year-old and runs 10 kilometres every game. Costello has opened my eyes a lot with regards to his talent.

"Joe was injured a lot last year but he’s strong, competes, passes it well. He’s doing fantastically well playing in the right full back position for us despite naturally being a goalscoring attacking midfielder.

“Sam Hart is a young boy who we signed from Liverpool. He had a couple of loans last season and there’s a chance he might go out on loan again once Amari’i  and Derrick are fit," he added.

“But he’s showing all the attributes that made us sign him. He can run up and down all day, is strong, can win headers and is a decent footballer.

“With Amari’i and Derrick competing in front of him, a period out on loan may benefit him. We’ll wait and see."

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