Grant McCann is confident Mallik Wilks will be back to his best after being left out of the starting line-up for a league game for the first time this season.
The on loan Leeds United striker had started every one of Rovers’ previous 12 league matches prior to being named on the bench at Rochdale on Saturday following recent lacklustre performances.
And McCann believes it could have delivered the nudge in the right direction Wilks has needed.
“Mallik has had an unbelievable reaction,” McCann told the Free Press.
“When I spoke to him and told him I was leaving him out, he was fine with it. He looked disappointed but his reaction when he came on was first class.
“His reaction in training has been the same.
“To me, this week he looks like the Mallik that came to us at the start of the season – the first seven or right games when he was so hard to play against.
“I’ve said it before that Mallik is going to have runs of two good games and then one when he’s probably not at it.
“He's young and he’s learning.
“When he does hit his peak, he’s going to be hard to deal with.”
McCann admits he keeps a close eye on the 19-year-old’s activity both on and off the pitch.
And he says the effort is worth it for a player of his quality.
“I speak to Mallik more than I speak to my kids,” McCann said. “It’s almost like having a fourth boy really.
“Nothing bad, just speaking to him about how he’s getting on, is the hotel ok, the food, what he did last night – it’s constant, every day with him really.
“He enjoys that and we love him here.
“We just want to keep improving him.”