John Buckley is happy with the progress he’s made in his career to date and says he feels the support of boss Tony Mowbray.

Buckley signed a long-term deal with Rovers through to 2024 and has passed 50 appearances for the club in a season in which he featured in all but one matchday squad.

A start in the final day win over Birmingham City was his seventh of the season, while his 21 substitute outings were the second most in the squad behind Tyrhys Dolan.

Midfielder Buckley hasn’t followed the path of many young players, not loaned out to further his development, instead staying working with the first-team squad.

And he says that’s a situation he’s comfortable with as he targets more regular game-time next season.

He said: “I know the gaffer rates me and believes in me, I just want to play more games, which my performances will only help that, affecting games when I come on.”


A contract extension has given John Buckley fresh impetus to his career that he hopes to take into next season.

Buckley’s long-term future is secured after agreeing a deal through to 2024, with the option of a further 12 months, amid the prospect of an ever-increasing role within the Rovers midfield.

The homegrown talent has been on the periphery of the side for the last two years, but with the departure of several more experienced central midfield options, as well as loanees, gaps have opened up in a position where Rovers were previously well-stocked.

That should offer more opportunities to Buckley, as well as Jacob Davenport, the pair having started together alongside Lewis Travis on the final day.

Travis, like Buckley, also stuck around despite the offer of a loan move to the EFL, and has been rewarded with a permanent role in the side, something his fellow Academy graduate is looking to achieve.

“Yeah definitely, I wanted to be one of the main players that’s going to help us.

“I want to try and help the team get back to the Premier League.

“I want the gaffer to keep believing in me and keep improving, get my starts which will only help my career.

“I’ve made a lot of appearances, I feel for age it’s a decent amount, but I just want to turn those into starts and I can only do that by taking my chances when they come and performing.

“I want to get a few games on the bounce which will help me kick on.”

Contract talks with Buckley have dragged on, and the midfielder says having his future sorted is a big relief.

“It makes my mind a bit more free now. I wanted to get it sorted as quickly as possible,” he added.

“I’m relaxed now, but it has been going on for over a year so I just wanted it done so I could concentrate on my football.”

Rovers’ commitment to young players has been demonstrated by the inclusion of an Academy graduate in a matchday squad for the last decade.

Buckley is among the current drop, along with Travis, captain Darragh Lenihan, Ryan Nyambe and Joe Rankin-Costello, meaning that run is set to extend for some time yet.

While Travis and Rankin-Costello were picked up along the way, after being released by Liverpool and Manchester United respectively, Buckley’s route has seen him progress through the Rovers age groups since Under-9s.

He’s seen plenty of players, and staff, come and go in that time, with Jack Evans the last player from that original group, the utility man leaving last summer to sign for Forest Green.

“When I was Under-9s there were a few people from my school in Manchester and that was one of the reasons I signed, just to enjoy it,” Buckley said.

“When I first signed I did it to enjoy myself and be with my mates.

“I’ve seen a lot of people go, a lot of managers that have helped me along the way.

“I’ve had a lot of managers that have helped me through my journey so far.

“I have some good memories of being on the astroturf, and parents used to be able to watch up the top, I remember stuff like parents evening and looking up during training and my dad putting his thumb up to show that it had gone well.

“I have a lot of memories, it’s been tough, but I’m happy with myself and I’ve done well to get where I am.”

“Everyone’s journey is different, I just want to play more, get more starts.”