U18s striker Ethan Harrison was buzzing to receive his call up to Rovers’ first-team squad against Stoke City.
Harrison came on as an 81st minute substitute for Matt Smith against Stoke City in round two of the Carabao Cup.
He said: “The call-up came completely by surprise. I got the phone call off Gary McSheffrey the night before telling me that Richie asked for a striker and Gary had chosen me. It was a shock because I had just come back from injury after breaking my toe.
“It was nerve-wracking at first travelling with the senior squad because I did not want to sit in anyone’s seat but the lads were fine. Tommy Rowe spent a bit of time with me and shared some good advice.
“Richie told me to put a smile on and go and enjoy myself and Noel Hunt echoed everything he said.
“It was a proud moment for me and my family being a Donny lad and having been here for ten years.
“There was a bit of nerves but I just tried to focus on the job at hand.”
Academy manager Tony Cook is proud of Harrison and the job his staff have done developing players who are able to make the step up.
He said: “Our job is to produce good well-rounded human beings. The ultimate thing is to get a player in our first-team.
“Since January 2019 we have had two U16's make their senior debut. It is pleasing for us all as present and past staff.
“I’m delighted Richie has given a pathway to these youngsters to get through. The first-team embraced Ethan when he went into the team. They signed his shirt for him and it will be something he and his family looks back on with great pride.”