Tony Mowbray feels a more attacking role can best unlock John Buckley’s potential.

Buckley opened his account for the season to rescue a point for Rovers against Stoke City having played in an advanced midfield position when replacing Bradley Dack.

The majority of the 21-year-old’s appearances for Rovers have come in central midfield, or out wide, though previously he’s been used as a back-up right back, starting the FA Cup defeat to Doncaster.

That was just a third start of the season for Buckley, though is one of only two players to have appeared in every matchday squad and is Rovers’ most used substitute.

He has his eyes set on more starts, but has become a key member of the squad, with Mowbray a known admirer. And the manager admits playing further up the pitch could bring out the best in Buckley.

He said: “The coaching staff feel John’s best position is attacking midfield.

“He’s got amazing ability, when you watch him in training, to slalom around people. His upper body can shift, and he can move the ball really well.

“Before he came on, I told him to play higher up the pitch than usual, to try and threaten the goal and not worry too much about tracking back and that ultimately paid off.”

Buckley is closing in on a half century of appearances for the first-team since his debut at Sheffield Wednesday in March 2019.

Of his 15 Championship appearances this season, 13 have come as a substitute, more than any player in the squad. Last season, only Danny Graham made more than his 15 substitute appearances, with Buckley starting five times, and scoring two goals.

Rovers turned down several loan offers from League One clubs for Buckley last season, keen to keep the Academy graduate around the first-team, and that looks set to be the stand-point once again in this window.

That is owing to the club being able to use five substitutes in Championship matches, and name 20-man matchday squads, under current EFL rules.

Buckley scored an important winner for Rovers against Sheffield Wednesday in November 2019, and also the opener against Charlton in February 2020.

His third senior goal was the equaliser against the Potters to earn Rovers a point, and in the process became the eighth substitute to score this season.

And Buckley hopes it can prove to be something of a turning point.

He added: “It was important for me to break into the box and anticipate where the ball was going to drop.

“We’re halfway through the season now and it was important to take something from the game.

“The ambition for us is to be higher up the table and into the top six.”