Joe Rankin-Costello has been hoping to catch Tony Mowbray’s attention, in more ways than one, and hopes performances in training and a 30-minute cameo in the win at Sheffield Wednesday can be the start of a run in the side.

Rankin-Costello was handed his league debut at Hillsborough, coming off the bench with Rovers 4-0 up before having a hand in the fifth scored by Sam Gallagher.

Mowbray said the decision to hand the 20-year-old a spot on the bench, for the sixth game this season, was an easy one given the attacker’s form in training.

Rankin-Costello will hoping to further impress during this week’s training camp in Portugal and keep his spot when Rovers host QPR on Tuesday.

His senior debut came in the Checkatrade Trophy back in September 2017, and after spending a year out injured, made his second as a substitute in the league cup defeat at Sheffield United in August.

But his league bow was extra special for the former Manchester United youngster who has long been tipped for a bright future.

He said: “Winning 5-0, it made it easier for me to come on and takes that pressure off my shoulders a little bit because the boys have done so well.

“It was a proud moment for me and my family and I loved every minute of it because the stadium was full, which was something I’m not used to.

“I didn’t think I’d be in the squad because I’d only come back from injury three or four days earlier, but the gaffer told me I was in on the morning of the game and I was buzzing.

“The lads did well to get the goals and that helped things for a young player coming on.”

Rankin-Costello says the more senior members of the squad encouraged him to warm up, in a bid to catch Mowbray’s eye so to get on the pitch.

A booking for Joe Rothwell just before the hour mark made the manager’s call a little easier, but even with the points made certain by the 4-0 lead and playing against 10 men, the occasion was still an overwhelming one for the youngster to come to terms with.

“All the lads were saying to me on the bench to get running down the touchline and I was waiting for the gaffer to turn round and pick me,” he said.

“I struggled to get in the game at first because I was a bit nervous, but the lads kept giving me the ball and that took the nerves off.

“By the 70th minute or so I was quite relaxed. I had a shot outside the box that went pretty close and it was great to get the assist for Sam’s goal late on.”

An unused substitute on five previous occasions, Rankin-Costello was unavailable for the festive fixtures because of injury.

The Wednesday win ended a month’s wait for three points, and he told the club website: “The dressing room was buzzing and hopefully the win will put us on a run now to get into the play-offs.

“Injuries have killed us recently so we needed a big win to get us going again.

“Hopefully this can kickstart us to get back where we want to be.”

Jacob Davenport was handed just his second Rovers outing, after an injury-hit start to his Ewood Park career.

And while pleased to be able to hand him an opportunity, it was Rankin-Costello who stood out.

“Joe Rankin-Costello and Jacob Davenport did well in their brief cameos, especially given Davenport’s injuries recently, but I’m delighted Rankin-Costello managed to get himself an assist at the end to show everyone his quality,” Mowbray said.

“The energy, power, quality, speed, directness and goal-threat that he brings in training indicates to me that he will be a big player for this club in the coming years.

“He got the opportunity his hard work has deserved, and he managed to tally an assist for the last goal that proves his quality.”

Though hitting the brakes just a little on Rankin-Costello, Mowbray says there will be caution taken with his development.

“I don’t want to burden the young lad because young players can do really well and then have to sit out because senior players return to fitness, or the games aren’t right.

“John Buckley is a classic case of that. John burst on the scene, played a handful of games, got himself a goal and found himself out of the squad in order to give Rankin-Costello an opportunity.”