Jai Rowe was delighted to make his Iron debut, in what he described as an “unreal” night for the 18-year-old as the Iron took on league leaders Swindon Town at the County Ground.
He told iFollow Iron: “It was an unreal moment for me. It’s a day I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid. I got told on the morning on the way that I was going to be starting. I didn’t even know if I was going to be in the squad. Russ [Wilcox] pulled me and said I was starting against top of the league. I still can’t believe it but I’m buzzing it's happened now.
“I called my dad as soon as I knew. My dad, step-mum and cousin came up to watch. It was a long trip for them. I hope I did them proud.”
The former Barwell man has enjoyed working under Wilcox and was full of praise for the club legend.
“As soon as Russ got given the role I was buzzing because he’s always had belief in me. Since the first minute I came, he's had my back, so I couldn’t ask for a better manager really," he said.
"I think he's the right manager for this job and I'd love to have him here with me next season as well.
“Only nine months ago I was playing in non-league in the Evo-Stik, which was tough because challenges fly in. Things change quickly.”
Despite the result, the youngster was pleased to make his first-team bow, having featured regularly for the Under-23s this season.
“Compared to the Under-23s football I’ve been playing for most of the season, the tempo was a lot faster,” he said. “Obviously we’ve got the fans here as well.”
Rowe received a booking early on in the game but insisted he just wanted to give it his all.
“I thought I was going to go!” he exclaimed. “I said to the boys I was going to go in strong straight away, which is what I did. I stayed on the pitch so that’s all that matters.”
He praised the quality of the opposition, adding: “They kept the ball well but we knew that was going to happen away from home. We grafted well and worked hard together.”
The Iron host local rivals Grimsby Town on Saturday (1pm kick-off) and Rowe is hoping he might get another look in.
He said: “Fingers crossed for Saturday, hopefully I get a few minutes. I’ve got to keep my head on it now and keep playing as well as I can for the Under-23s and working hard in training, doing my bits after too.”
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