Bradley Dack moved another 45 minutes closer to his first team return after coming through unscathed against Derby County Under-23s on Monday night.
The 26-year-old started the encounter in central midfield against the Rams at the Loughborough University Stadium, and played his part in the opening goal in the 5-3 thriller that moved Rovers into second place in Premier League 2 Division 1.
Dack looked sharp in his first competitive outing since suffering a serious knee injury against Wigan Athletic back in December 2019.
In fact, it was almost a year to the day since the setback against the Latics, and the talisman was thrilled to come through a half as he edges closer to his first team return.
“It’s really nice to get 45 minutes in the legs, and as a team I felt we did really well to get the three points against a strong Derby team," he said after the game.
“I feel very good about it, we’re not far off now. There have been a few little setbacks, but I feel strong and fit again now.
“I used the game as a yardstick to see where I am because they had quite a few first team players out there.
“Billy (Barr) felt I did well, Mark Venus (assistant manager) was in the crowd and he was pleased with me as well.
“I could have played an hour and wanted to play an hour, but the staff and physios noted that I’d done a lot of running and my metres per minute statistics were high.
“I’ve always really played in the central midfield role, it was only when I came to Rovers that I moved slightly further forward," he added.
“Creating from a little bit deeper is something I really enjoy doing, but I’ll play anywhere for the team to be honest.
“We’ll look to build on that, we won’t set any targets, but hopefully I’ll be back in the first team soon."
And with no Development Squad games until 2021, Dack's hopeful that the busy first team schedule can work in his favour before the the new year.
“Hopefully we can get some behind closed doors games in before the next Under-23s game," he said.
“But Christmas is a busy period, so maybe I can get myself on the bench with the first team and look to build myself up that way.
He joked: “I’ll be knocking on the gaffer’s door to try and get myself on the bench on Boxing Day!
“We’ve half joked about it with the gaffer, but we’ve got to be serious and not rush things.”