Darren Ferguson praised forward Liam Mandeville for stepping up and taking his opportunity in Saturday’s FA Cup defeat at Oldham Athletic.
Ferguson had previously expressed disappointment in Mandeville’s failure to grasp his chance following the injury which has ruled Andy Williams out until December.
But the Rovers boss was much more pleased with the 19-year-old’s performance at the weekend, despite Rovers’ disappointing 2-1 defeat at Boundary Park.
Mandeville won and scored an injury time penalty as Rovers threatened a late comeback.
“I’m really pleased for Liam,” Ferguson said. “He had a bit to answer. He knew that.
“He was more aggressive, he got more involved. He won the penalty for himself and took it.
“Thank God we’ve scored a penalty at last.
“I gave Liam the penalties. He’s a good finisher. If Mandeville is playing, he’s on penalties now.
“We’re going to need him.
“I’m really pleased for the boy. I’ve still got high hopes for him.
“The last couple of games I think himself, he knows he hasn’t done what I wanted but today he certainly did.”
Ferguson felt Mandeville may have initially struggled with the pressure placed on him after Williams’ injury presented him with an opportunity for a place in the starting XI.
He said: “That is where you’ve got to deliver. That is part and parcel of the game.
“Sometimes when people come on and become impact players, it’s a lot easier and a lot more comfortable for them.
“But he needs to step up and he did that.”
Ferguson confirmed Mandeville will start tomorrow’s Checkatrade Trophy clash with Port Vale, along with Alfie Beestin, who also impressed on Saturday.