Joe Rankin-Costello will be happy to hear that Tony Mowbray doesn’t see his long-term future at left back, but does see him as an integral part of the first-team set-up moving forward.

The 20-year-old has filled in at what has become a problem position for Rovers since the restart, shaking off a hamstring injury to feature at Cardiff City. And Mowbray will need the Academy graduate to do the same again, after being forced off with cramp in the midweek win, having not trained before being thrust back in to the starting line-up in south Wales.

Mowbray sees Rankin-Costello, more naturally an attacking player, as his best option at full back for now, believing his physical attributes make him the right man for the job at this moment.

But long-term, he feels his attacking instincts will be an invaluable asset for the club, with a probable decrease in this summer’s transfer activity likely to see him get even more opportunities next season.

Asked if Rankin-Costello had a long-term future at left back, Mowbray said: “No, I would suggest he hasn’t.

“I’d like a left back who can run up and down all day, which Joe can do, but when he gets in to those positions, he has a natural left-footed delivery, rather than check back and all the movement in to the box has to stall a little.

“He’s a wonderful footballer, wonderful attributes, he can play anywhere.

“His natural instincts are to get in the box and score a goal which is difficult to do from left back.

“I keep telling him not to worry about that. It’s basically his physical attributes that have forced me with three potential left backs out to put him in that position because he can do it.

“Joe Rankin-Costello can play anywhere on the pitch and when we get a settled team and his talent gets him in the team he’ll be scoring goals, he has the ability to get in to double figures scoring goals, and somewhere down the line that’s what he’ll turn in to.

“At the moment he’s an enforced left back for us.”

The former Manchester United youngster has now made seven Championship appearances for Rovers, a further one in the Carabao Cup as well as the Checkatrade Trophy appearance in October 2017, his senior debut.

Injury saw him miss 12 months of action, before a storming end to last season and impressive start to this campaign, forced his way in to first-team contention.

He featured in pre-season at right back, while Ryan Nyambe was away at the Africa Cup of Nations and Elliott Bennett injured, but has indicated his preference to play in the attacking positions.

“I don’t mind it, it’s alright, personally I don’t see myself there in the future but anywhere to get in the team, I’m happy with,” he said diplomatically when asked about playing in his current left back berth.

“It’s about when I do get in there I have to try and make it hard for the gaffer to leave me out.

“I’m still learning, the pressure is so much different to what I’m used to.

“Hopefully game by game I’ll try and get better.

“I enjoy it because it’s all about winning, not about how well you play. If you win then everyone is happy, no matter how well you’ve played. I enjoy that.”

Mowbray says he has found “a solution” at left back in Rankin-Costello with Amari’i Bell and Derrick Williams expected to miss the remainder of the season through muscle injuries.

But reiterating Rankin-Costello will be seen long-term as an attacking player, he said: “He’s got a big future in whatever position. If I was to pigeon-hole him after watching him for the last three years he’s probably most dynamic coming in off the left in a 4-2-3-1.

“He can score goals, he can smell a goal, he gets in the six yard box, has a natural instinct to score a goal and is around the ball when it drops in the box.

“He can run up and down, physically strong, head it, what can’t Joe Rankin-Costello do?”