TONY Mowbray says Dominic Samuel’s upturn in fortunes has given the Rovers striker a much needed confidence boost.

Samuel has three goals and two assists in his last two Rovers outings, as his double against Crewe in the FA Cup followed an excellent substitute appearance in the win over Bristol Rovers last month.

The striker, who now has eight goals this season, has been short of football of late, not helped by his red card in the win over Portsmouth on October 21 and the emergence of Joe Nuttall.

But given a go from the start against the Alex, Samuel scored two well-taken goals and set up another for Danny Graham to boost his chances of returning to the side when Rovers travel to Peterborough United this weekend.

The £500,000 summer acquisition from Reading had been Rovers’ go-to man earlier in the season and is looking to recapture the form that saw him enjoy a fine start to life at Ewood Park.

“Samuel is a good player and needed to get his confidence back,” Mowbray told the Lancashire Telegraph.

“He had been a bit low, he had the sending off (against Portsmouth) and had picked up a couple of little knocks in training.

“He has had some disappointing because of Nuttall’s emergence and hasn’t been put on the pitch when Nuttall has played and there is renewed competition for places in the team.

“Graham scored as well, but it was brilliant for Dominic to get a couple and I’m pretty sure that if we could have kept our full complement on the pitch he would have scored another goal or two himself.

“I’m sure it will have done his confidence the world of good and hopefully he can take that in to the next game.”

Samuel has started 10 of Rovers’ 19 league games in attack but it is a position that no-one is yet to nail down in Mowbray’s favoured 4-2-3-1 formation.

His relationship with Bradley Dack, as well as being a more mobile option than Graham, could give Samuel the nod when Rovers travel to the ABAX Stadium aiming to make it five league wins in a row.

They will be without the services of Elliott Bennett who is set to start his four match ban following his red card in the FA Cup tie, his second dismissal of the season. But his time on the sidelines could offer a way back in to the fold for Craig Conway.

The winger, who hasn’t played since October 31 after picking up a hamstring strain, has trained for the last two weeks and will be eyeing a recall in Bennett’s place should he be passed fit to play.

It comes as a timely return with Harry Chapman (hamstring) and Ben Gladwin (knee) currently ruled out through injury.