TEENAGER James Husband has been tipped for a ‘bright future’ in the game after making his Doncaster Rovers debut against Middlesbrough.
Husband, 18, is one of several young players likely to be promoted to the first-team squad in the wake of Rovers’ relegation from the Championship.
Manager Dean Saunders thrust Husband into the spotlight on Tuesday night after defender Shelton Martis limped off with a calf injury.
The Leeds-born left-back played over 40 minutes and helped Rovers keep a first clean sheet in 16 games during the goalless draw at the Riverside Stadium. He now hopes to keep his place in the side for the final two games of the season against Coventry City and Ipswich Town.
“I’ve been training with the first team for a couple of months and I think I am up to the tempo now,” he said. “I had been on the bench a few times in the past but I am happy the gaffer thinks I can do it.
“There are far worse places to make your debut and it was everything I thought it would be. My emotions are joy and happiness.
“I think I did well but, more importantly, the team did well to hold on for a point,” he added.
“It’s given me a taste of proper first-team football and, hopefully, I will also be involved in the remaining two games and push on next season.”
Husband signed his first professional deal five months ago and Rovers continued their investment in youth last week by awarding senior deals to teenagers Jonathan Maxted, Liam Wakefield, Andrew McCormick, Patrick Mullen and Jordan Ball.
Rovers manager Saunders had nothing but praise for Husband’s display against Boro, saying: “You couldn’t get a more pressurised game and I thought ‘Good luck son, go on and do your best’ – but he looked like he had been playing for 10 years.
“He was not fazed, he was up in their box, and he stamped his personality on the game. He’s got a bright future ahead of him and he is able to play with a free mind because he’s not had all the torment we have had.”
On-loan goalkeeper Carl Ikeme has been recalled by Wolves. He had not figured since conceding four against Leicester City.
Defender Martis, meanwhile, is expected to miss the final two games.
Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray wants to ‘put things right’ this summer after the result against Rovers left his side four points adrift of the play-off spots.
“There was huge disappointment not to get three points against a relegated team at home but I think it was indicative of the season we have had,” he said.
“If you look at the goals scored by all the top teams, we have not scored enough. We have to put that right moving forward and we will try to do that in the summer if we can.”
What’s gone wrong at Rovers? – don’t miss tomorrow’s Yorkshire Post.