The speed of his development has delighted Hayden Carter as he made it 10th time lucky in making his Rovers debut.

The young central defender had featured in nine matchday squads, including all seven since the re-start, before being handed his first minutes in the 4-3 win over Reading.

Tony Mowbray felt the 20-year-old looked ‘really assured’ and put in a confident display on his debut where he lined up in an all homegrown back four.

Seven Academy graduates finished the game, with Mowbray having a look towards the future, with Carter among those to have been progressed through the club’s ranks to the first-team stage.

But having only made certain of his spot  in the Under-23s last season, Carter says making his first-team debut wasn’t something that was on his radar at the start of the season.

He said: “At the start of the season I wouldn’t have thought I would be playing, but I feel that after that first call-up at Charlton away I feel I’ve done well in training and I’m happy with the progress I’ve been making.

“Obviously I’ve got a lot more to do but I’m happy with that.”

Carter will hope to keep his place as Rovers sign off their season with a trip to Luton Town on Wednesday.

He is all but certain to start, given Mowbray revealed that Manchester City Tosin Adarabioyo has played his final game of his loan spell, allowing the manager to have an extended look at the youngster.

Carter was first drafted in to the squad for the win at Charlton in February and has since become a regular in the matchday squad. And despite Charlie Mulgrew getting the nod over Carter for the defeat at Barnsley last month, it’s the youngster who is set to partner Darragh Lenihan at Kenilworth Road.

He added: “It’s a shame the end of the season has come when it has. Now I’ve had my first taste of it I just want the games to keep coming.

“It’s a short turn around for the start of next season so I’ll have a little rest and when I come back hopefully I can play more often.”

Lenihan, who captained the side against Reading, ended the game as the most experienced, and oldest, player on the pitch at just 26.

The Irishman has been in Carter’s position, making his way in the game, and passed on plenty of advice throughout the course of the 90 minutes, where despite conceding three goals, Carter impressed.

He used the ball well throughout, allowing Rovers to dominate position, and was grateful to both Lenihan, and experienced midfielder Bradley Johnson, for talking him through the game.

“Darragh is much more experienced, giving me little hints here and there and where to be and where to play the ball,” he explained.

“Darragh helped me a lot through the game, as did Johnno in midfield and everyone in the changing room, at half time and before the game so I’m grateful for that.

“He (Mowbray) told me to be myself and do what I’ve been doing to get to this point, don’t just take the easy option when you’re out there, be yourself, and I thought I did that.

“Afterwards he said well done, as did everyone else, so I’m delighted.

“I really enjoyed it, it’s what it’s all about, coming through the age groups to get towards first-team football so I was delighted with it and really enjoyed it.”

The one downside to Carter’s debut was that it came behind closed doors.

It meant his family, who would otherwise have been in the stands to support him, were made to watch from home via the iFollow stream.

And while Carter said that didn’t detract from the day, or affect his performance, he wanted to show gratitude for their efforts in getting him to the position of making his first-team debut.

“It would have been nice for them to be here after all they’ve done for me to get to this stage but I’m sure they were watching at home on the internet.

“It didn’t make a difference to my performance but it would have been nice for them to be here.”