TONY Mowbray insists there is only so long he can hold back Joe Nuttall after the striker’s impressive start to the season for Rovers.

Nuttall scored the winner for Rovers in last week’s Checkatrade Trophy victory over Stoke City Under-21s on his senior debut.

That took him to seven goals in four outings so far this season, having netted six times in his first three games for Damien Johnson’s Under-23s.

Former Manchester City youngster Nuttall, who featured for Rovers in the Lancashire Senior Cup tie with Wigan Athletic last night, is now looking to break in to the Rovers first-team after a goal laden start to the campaign.

And Mowbray says he will give the striker every chance to break in to the first-team picture.

“What I look at is the attributes that he brings, he’s pretty direct, he’s fast, he’s strong, he’s big and is able to run in behind,” said Mowbray.

“He can head it, and I ask myself all the time can I hold him back?

“He’s scored six goals in three games, he’s on fire scoring goals and I think what more can the boy do?

“I genuinely sit here and think we maybe need to try and accelerate him and I don’t want to take him out of what he’s enjoying which is scoring lots of goals for the Under-23s but you can see that he found an extra yard when he needed and was committed and brave to get to the ball when the goalie looked favourite (against Stoke City Under-21s).

“Let’s not take the reins off him completely but I think he needs some encouraging as he moves forward if he keeps scoring goals and doing as well as he did.”

Nuttall joined Rovers on a one-year deal, with the option for a further 12 months, in the summer after scoring five times in two trial games for the Under-23s, including one hat-trick.

He scored 17 minutes in to his senior debut for Rovers against Stoke, having previously spent time north of the border with Aberdeen, Stranraer and Dumbarton.