Grant McCann was delighted with the manner in which defender Will Flint grew into the game on his senior debut for Rovers.
The Academy product started in the EFL Trophy clash at Mansfield Town and, after a shaky start to the game, looked assured at the back.
The 17-year-old is currently mulling over the offer of a first professional contract and McCann was pleased in which he handled his first step up to senior level.
“He was playing against good players out there in James Gale and Will Swan,” he said. “They play regularly for Mansfield, whether it’s coming off the bench or starting.
“It was a big test for him. He struggled a bit earlier on in the game and he was finding his feet but he grew into it and he was magnificent towards the end.
“Marauding forward, calm with the ball at his feet, defending, making blocks in the box - he was excellent.”
McCann also had plenty of praise for Tavonga Kuleya and Jack Goodman who also started the game.
“I’ll be interested to see Tavs’ physical numbers because his energy was excellent, he was everywhere,” he said.
“He got a little bit giddy towards the end when he had a shot when he probably could have slid Mols [Luke Molyneux] in. He’s a young boy.
“And so is Jack Goodman. He was a bit gutted afterwards because he’s a very good finisher and he’s gutted that he never took one of those chances.
“But I’m more pleased he’s in the area in the first place.”
As well as providing the youngsters with valuable experience, McCann said he was keen to provide members of the squad with some rest ahead of Saturday’s game against Sutton United in Sky Bet League Two.
Despite the changes, he was still disappointed to suffer a 3-2 defeat against the Stags, who netted their winner in the 88th minute,
“We wanted to make sure we had a bit of freshness coming into Saturday’s game,” McCann said. We’ve had a busy week and we’ve got another one or two coming up.
“Sharing the load was always going to be the plan for me. We didn’t envisage the two injuries in the first half.
“I’m disappointed to lose as always. The last goal is really annoying for us and Lawsy has held his hands up over the mistake but it’s football.
“We just didn’t capitalise on the opportunities. Mols hit the post, George Broadbent hit the post and we had some unbelievable opportunities to take the game away from them but we didn’t quite do it.”