Ben Brereton returns to his former club with Rovers this weekend with boss Tony Mowbray saying the time to judge the teenager will be next season.

Brereton has started just three Championship matches for Rovers since arriving from the City Ground for around £6m and is yet to open his account.

The 19-year-old joined on an initial loan deal which was made permanent in January, with Mowbray saying his arrival was always with a view to the long-term.

Brereton was part of the Forest side the last time the sides met in Nottingham in March 2017, and Mowbray maintains confidence in his ability that he will prove to be a good acquisition.

Asked if he could envisage Brereton’s debut campaign unfolding as it has, Mowbray told the Lancashire Telegraph: “I knew he wasn’t coming to play straight away, with us having Dack and Graham.

“Could he have come and started as a right or left winger? Maybe. Yet the reality is he hasn’t.

“Usually I have gone with a Bennett or Conway on one side and then Armstrong has managed to push in front of him and now he’s got competition from Rothwell, if that’s where he’s going to play.

“I have had these conversations with him and his advisors who see him as a centre forward. Danny Graham has been playing up front with competition from Nuttall.

“As I’ve been talking about we’re trying to develop and grow this team in to a more technical team that doesn’t rely on the body strength of Danny Graham.

“When that comes to the fore next season then Brereton will be playing as a No.9 at times, us sliding down balls down the side of centre halves for him to dart on the end of and dribble.

“His main strength is running with the ball so we will evolve in to a different football team through the work we’re trying to do on the training ground.

“Maybe Brereton will become one of two strikers, or a No.9, then everyone will judge him then from when he’s playing regularly and see how many goals he’s scored.”

Brereton was one of just two seven-figure deals that Rovers completed last summer, along with the arrival of Adam Armstrong from Newcastle United.

He has largely featured as a winger during his time at the club, which also saw him score three times in two Under-23s outings earlier this year.

Mowbray says the outlay on Brereton doesn’t bring any additional pressure, adding:

“The owners agreed on what the money was going to be and then it was down to me to spend it where I wanted.

“I could have bought six or seven players for £1m each, whatever we paid for Ben, or we buy a talent that we think is going to be a massive asset for the football club down the line.

“The pressure for me is to win games every week, not who I pick.

“You create a squad, you either have or haven’t got money to do it, then you get judged on how well the team does over the year.”

Rovers picked up just a second league win in 12 matches since January when beating Derby County on Tuesday.

They sit 16th in the table heading in to their final five fixtures following promotion from League One last season.

“Ultimately this season we’ve been left a little bit disappointment, yet the reality is that we came from League One. You look at the other teams that came from League One and it’s not an easy division,” the boss said.

“Whichever clubs you reel off (in this division), they are huge clubs with their support base and huge financial backing.

“How well have we done? We’ve done okay? But our ambition is not just to do okay, it’s to grow the club and be right up there with those clubs.

“Whether it’s next season, or the one after, as a manager I understand you only get so much time, so for me we will try and strengthen in the summer and make sure everyone knows next year we will be competing with all of those clubs to try and get out of this division.”