TONY Mowbray admits Tyrhys Dolan’s instant impact for Blackburn Rovers has caught him by surprise.

Let go by Preston North End, the young attacker was expected to slot into the Under-23s set-up at Ewood Park, his former club not having a side between the Under-18s and first-team.

But due to departures and injuries, Dolan has been handed a chance to impress in training, friendlies and then the Carabao Cup win over Doncaster Rovers on Saturday.

The 18-year-old has taken his opportunity, showing up well on his professional debut for the final 25 minutes as Rovers reached round two.

Mowbray is full of praise for the youngster’s energy and enthusiasm with his performances having more than caught him off guard.

“Let’s be honest, I’d never seen Tyrhys Dolan play other than watching the youth cup game against Preston here (at Ewood Park),” said the Rovers boss.

“He didn’t jump out at me as a superstar that day. He was brought because my recruitment department brought it to me and I supported my recruitment department.

“Basically they wanted to sign this young kid from Preston and it was a case of ‘let’s do it’.

“I’d have to say from day one we came back, he’s been training with the group because of numbers really to make sure that we had enough to play 10 v 10, and in the last three games every time he’s been on the pitch he’s made a massive impact.

“Let’s hope that’s not just adrenaline coming to a new club. Let’s hope that’s what he is because he can make things happen.

“He’s like a fizzy bottle of pop ready to explode every time he gets on the pitch and the way I want to play he does just what I want. He has intensity, he has urgency, he plays on the front foot, he’s positive.

“Let’s not build him, he’s just a young kid, but he’s started pretty well and he will be rewarded with game time if he keeps it going.”

Despite impressing in his first few weeks, in all likelihood, says Mowbray, he would still have been on Under-23s duty at the weekend had Sam Gallagher been fit.

Now the challenge is for the teenager to turn his undoubted promise into an extended run of form.

“It’s down to him of course, he has to sustain it,” said Mowbray.

“He has to sustain what he’s showing me every day in training – and showing the lads, showing the first team.

“The first-team players are amazed at what he can do, how he can do it, how he can drag it from foot to foot and run so fast with the ball and do little tricks with it. And then the intensity out of possession, his ability to close down and win the ball back, as his goal at Blackpool showed – he took it off the goalie and scored.

“He’s got an opportunity because he deserves an opportunity with his work ethic, and let’s see how the season unfolds for him.

“Because I’d have to say if Gallagher was available today there’s every chance he would have been playing at Manchester City with our Under 23s.”