Tony Mowbray sprung a surprise at Norwich City with John Buckley entrusted to lead the line at Carrow Road.

It was a position the 21-year-old finished in the stalemate with Bristol City, and continued in against the league leaders, with Tyrhys Dolan, who had previously occupied that role, moved to the left and Ben Brereton on the right.

By the time you had worked out the positioning, Buckley had already had two shots on goal, testing Tim Krul from the edge of the area, the first coming inside 30 seconds, the second before the game had reached five minutes.

It was a milestone appearance for Buckley, who has been in every matchday squad this season, his 50th senior appearance for Rovers, almost two years to the day since his debut at Sheffield Wednesday.

Buckley has long been tipped for a bright future at the club, and although his Norwich outing was only an 11th Championship start, it was his fourth in five games as he looks to get a run in the side.

He has played much of his football as part of a midfield three, or out wide, for Rovers so far, but has flourished in attacking positions for the Under-23s previously.

And explaining his role against Norwich, manager Tony Mowbray said: “He can score a goal, he’s got an amazing work ethic, a very clever football brain, he can intercept and read passes and he’s got an engine that can keep running.

“Sometimes you don’t play a centre forward against two big, strong centre halves to ask different questions of them and that’s what we did.

“I thought it worked reasonably well, we had enough opportunities and if we had their strikeforce at the top end of the pitch we might have scored a few more goals.”

Buckley was replaced just after the hour mark, with Rovers trailing 1-0, but Mowbray still opted to go without a recognised centre forward, despite Sam Gallagher being part of the double change he made.

Instead, with Adam Armstrong ruled out with a hamstring injury for the fourth match in five, it was Harvey Elliott who adopted the false nine position.

Gallagher was on in a straight swap for Brereton on the right, but it was from a set play, heading home at the back post, in which he scored Rovers’ equaliser.

It was a sixth of the season for Gallagher who by doing so became the club’s second top scorer, having previously being joint on five with both Brereton and Elliott, who claimed his 10th assist of the season in the process.

The 25-year-old has had a happy knack of scoring on the bench, this his fifth goal in 14 substitute appearances, the anomaly being his goal at Millwall earlier this month.

Gallagher has now matched his tally of Championship goals from last season, having also netted his first since re-signing for the club in a Carabao Cup tie at Sheffield United.

And while he’s proven to be Rovers’ super sub this season, Mowbray says it’s not a role the attacker would want.

The manager also reported a late injury for Gallagher who has seen holding his hamstring in the closing stages.

“He won’t want to come off the bench and score a goal, he’ll want to start, but at this moment the way we were going to play we needed the energy and the drive of the team,” Mowbray said.

“You could see him holding his hamstring towards the end.

“There’s been a lot of football, these players will get a few days off now, they need a break, and then we’ll start again.”