WILLEM Tomlinson hopes his pre-season goal boosts his bid to work his way into Tony Mowbray’s first team plans.

The young midfielder has struggled to make a significant breakthrough since making his senior debut from the bench in the FA Cup clash with Manchester United in February 2017.

The 20-year-old Academy product made seven appearances last season, with four in League One, but has yet to start a league game for Rovers.

Tomlinson admitted his 45-minute run-out at Hibernian on Sunday was unexpected. But he hopes that by scoring in the 2-0 win at Easter Road he has proved to manager Mowbray that he has plenty to offer the first team.

“It was a late decision that I was actually going to play, and luckily I did get the chance to come in and play 45 minutes and show that I can still impress and get goals,” said Tomlinson, who was played in by Bradley Dack to make it 2-0 after Craig Conway broke the deadlock.

“It reminds me of a couple of years ago when I scored against Wigan, although it wasn’t as good (a goal).

“I looked around and I had so much time on the ball I kind of just hit it straight at the keeper but luckily it kind of one-twoed off him and I got the goal.

“It was the perfect pass as always from Dacky and luckily I got the goal.”

He added: “Because we’ve got so many players now and the gaffer is signing more I didn’t know if I was going to be involved.

“Luckily I got the chance to play. It was my chance to impress again and show the gaffer what I can do still.

“It was good to get 45 minutes and get a good runaround because we’d worked hard over the last week ready for the game. It was good to get the fitness up a bit.

“When you’re a young lad it’s always good to be involved in the first team and I’m always in competition for places.

“I’m just trying my hardest to get in the side.”

Tomlinson is expecting his route to the first team to get even more difficult with Rovers returning to the Championship and Mowbray strengthening his squad accordingly.

But the youngster, who has worked his way through the club ranks, is determined to fight his corner.

“It makes more competition for places and you just can’t rest on your laurels. You’ve just got to keep trying to impress,” he added.

“There’s always going to be competition for places wherever you go.”

And Tomlinson is viewing pre-season as a clean slate for all concerned as Mowbray moulds his squad.

“I think it is, yes. I think you come in and everyone’s got a chance to impress the gaffer and he’s making decisions every day on you,” he said.

“It’s a new season. Obviously he’s got an idea of who’s going to play and who’s going to start but for a young lad it’s a chance to impress when you get the chance.”