Tony Mowbray says Joe Rankin-Costello has ‘opened my eyes’ to his talent but insists the talented youngster isn’t set for a future at right back.

Rankin-Costello enjoyed an excellent end to last season for the Under-23s after returning from 12 months out injured in January.

He was rewarded with a new two-year deal in the summer and has been one of the stand-out performers in pre-season so far, albeit in an unfamiliar right back role.

The 20-year-old has taken advantage of Ryan Nyambe’s international involvement, and Elliott Bennett missing the Mansfield win, to become a fixture in the side.

Rankin-Costello is better known for playing further up the pitch, and Mowbray still views him as a more attacking options.

But impressed by what he’s seen from the former Manchester United youngster, the boss said: “Rankin-Costello has opened my eyes a little bit to his talent. He was injured a lot last year.

“He’s strong, competes, passes it well. He’s not a right full-back, he’s a goalscoring midfield player but he’s doing fantastically well in that position.”

Rovers have been short of full back options in pre-season, with Nyambe arriving back late from the Africa Cup of Nations, while Amari’i Bell and Derrick Williams are both yet to feature because of injury.

Nyambe got his first run-out in a behind closed doors game against Macclesfield, and could feature against Rangers tomorrow.

On the extended run for Rankin-Costello, Mowbray added: “I think it’s down to availability.

“He has impressed of course.

“Nyambe was late back and played in the game on Wednesday just to get his legs going.

“Elliott Bennett is 30-year-old, he runs 10km every game so can’t play every minute of every match.”

The youngster is one of several attracting attention from EFL clubs, with Rovers weighing up whether to loan out their most promising youngsters before the August 31 deadline.

Dan Butterworth and John Buckley are others to have received interest,

“The phone has started ringing for lots of young players but we have a games programme to fulfil and need to get through them. When the time is right some will go out on loan and go out on loan and get some more minutes to develop their careers.”