Tony Mowbray says a first Championship start demonstrates the faith the Rovers coaching staff have in John Buckley, despite his withdrawal at half-time.

Buckley’s first start in the league ended after 45 minutes in the win over Millwall but Mowbray said that was no slight on his performance, merely a tactical decision.

The teenager had already made two Carabao Cup starts, and five Championship substitute appearances, before getting his chance against Millwall.

Buckley, who has been with the club since the age of seven, has made great strides in the last 12 months, graduating from the Under-23s to feature in every matchday squad this season.

Mowbray believes a bright future lies ahead for the youngster, revealing the decision to replace him with Sam Gallagher was to give more presence in the attacking third.

“The fact that John Buckley started the game shows that as a coaching staff we all feel that John Buckley is going to have a huge career in the game,” the boss told the Lancashire Telegraph.

“He has such fast feet, is like twinkle-toes the way he moves the ball.

“But sometimes with young players, this is the Championship, the second level of English football and it’s a bit different from Under-23s.

“Until you throw them in, you won’t know.

“John will reflect on that. But what I know is that he wants to watch, with a coach, every touch he has with the ball, could he have done it better? He will learn.”

Gallagher’s introduction saw Rovers go with Bradley Dack, scorer of the second goal, in a false No.9 role that he had occupied in the second half of the defeat at West Brom.

The switch saw Rovers take a man out of their midfield, and introduce a more attacking option, something Mowbray felt was key in pushing back Neil Harris’ side.

He added: “I just felt the team needed more pressure higher up the pitch so we brought Gallagher on to help us play a bit more direct at times rather than playing 15 passes to get over the halfway line.

“It was an obvious change for me to make, no reflection on John’s performance other than the team needed to play a different way in the second half and we did.

“I was delighted he made the first start and it will be the first of many I’m sure.”

Central midfielder Corry Evans was again an unused substitute for Rovers, with the Northern Ireland international yet to feature in the Championship this season.

Jacob Davenport, who made his sole appearance for Rovers on the final day of last season, was in action for the Under-23s on Monday night as he continues his comeback from injury in pre-season.

Rovers are still looking to add to their midfield ranks and are in advanced negotiations with German playmaker Lewis Holtby, a free agent after leaving Hamburg.