Richie Smallwood praised 'special player' Adam Armstrong after he netted his sixth and seventh goals of a productive loan spell in Rovers' win over Blackpool.

February player of the month Armstrong has started this month in fine fashion and scored two excellent finishes in the 3-0 victory over the Seasiders.

That maintained Rovers' spot at the top of League One having won five of their last seven matches as they keep up the pressure on the chasing pack.

Smallwood feels January recruit Armstrong has added another dimension to their attack and praised the 21-year-old's goalscoring instincts.

“He’s a special player with the ability to hurt any team in this league,” Smallwood said.

“He’s on fire at the moment, player of the month, and hopefully that continues.

“The lay-off to Adam was great - it had the perfect weight on it. The finish was brilliant.

“If he can continue as he has done for the remainder of this season then I think we’ll get the job done.”

More impressive is that Armstrong has been operating from the left wing rather than his more favoured central role.

And Smallwood added: “He’s a very good professional, a quiet lad but he’s mixing in well. He does his talking on the pitch and hopefully that can continue. He can help us this season.

“He’s a striker but is scoring goals from the left wing.

“He makes it look easy with the positions he takes up.

“He’s a natural finisher, and Danny’s the same, but Arma’s showing he can do it so early on in his career.”

Bradley Dack headed Rovers in front on the stroke of half-time, meeting a Charlie Mulgrew free-kick to bury his header at the near post.

Armstrong scored midway through the second half before adding a third in the final minute of normal time when firing home from an Elliott Bennett cross.

Rovers head in to the final nine games of their season five points clear, though Shrewsbury have two games in hand and Wigan four.

The Shrews were 2-0 winners over Walsall at the weekend while the Latics were held at home by Scunthorpe.

And Smallwood said: “We saw that a few results went our way when we got in the changing room. It was the near perfect day.

“We were solid, professional and efficient.

“The second goal was crucial, and what a goal it was. From there we knew the game was won.

“They deflated a little bit but before then they had a good spell. “They have some good, dangerous players and some good passers and pacy wingers, too.

“We always know how psychological a goal just before half time can be and fortunately it went our way.”