THIS was just what the Rovers fans had been waiting for, to see their January duo Adam Armstrong and Jack Payne start alongside Danny Graham and Bradley Dack as part of a fab four.

And the quartet didn’t disappoint.

Rovers put Walsall to the sword and while it was Dack and Graham who grabbed the goals, the two loanees more than played their part in a dominant performance.

The margin of victory could well have been more were it not for some fine goalkeeping from Saddlers stopper Liam Roberts.

He continued to deny Rovers, and Armstrong in particular, with a string of impressive saves but Rovers weren’t to be denied the three points as they moved back into the automatic promotion spots in League One.

The home side's link-up play was excellent throughout, as was their workrate, with a cheap goal conceded the only blot on an excellent night’s work.

Ewood boss Tony Mowbray stated his intentions before kick off by naming an attacking line-up which included first starts for Amari’i Bell, Armstrong and Payne.

And Rovers responded with a dominant first 45 minutes in which their attacking quartet threatened to run riot.

Graham grabbed his first of the night in just the fifth minute, firing across Roberts and into the far corner with a clinical finish after good work from Armstrong.

The Newcastle loanee was also on the hunt for a goal, his first effort coming seconds later which Roberts was equal to.

Armstrong should have made it 2-0 in the 19th minute, only to lash an effort wide after good work in the build up from both Payne and Graham.

The experienced striker would show him the way to goal just after the half hour mark when he attacked a Richie Smallwood cross at the far post to bury his second of the evening.

The Saddlers No.1 was keeping his side in it, denying Paul Downing a goal against his former side with an excellent one-handed save from the centre back's header.

But Roberts was grateful to see Bradley Dack drag an effort wide when played in by Payne as Rovers continued to threaten.

Roberts was equal to another curling Armstrong effort 10 minutes before the break as Rovers tried to kill the game off, helped by some excellent pressing high up the pitch.

But it was very much game on in the 37th minute when, as the Rovers players appealed for a foul on Ryan Nyambe, Joe Edwards profited to run clear on goal and after steadying himself he rifled the ball into the roof of the net.

It was a desperately disappointing goal for Rovers to concede having previously restricted the visitors to long range efforts, David Raya saving easily from both George Dobson and Edwards.

But a terrific move just two minutes after the break saw Rovers re-establish their two goal advantage.

Dack got his name on the scoresheet at the end of a terrific team move. Bell and Payne were first involved before playing in Graham who slid the ball into the path of Dack. The playmaker didn’t have to break stride and rolled an effort into the corner.

Armstrong was still trying to sniff out a goal and almost got one just before the hour.

A long marauding run forward from halfway ended with his shot being deflected and looping over Roberts who did well to back-pedal to tip the ball over the bar.

Rovers were in the main comfortable although a lapse at the back allowed Amadou Bakayogo a chance but he fired over having been afforded too much room to run on to a long ball.

Roberts continued to deny Rovers and Armstrong, pulling off a terrific one-handed stop to deny the attacker at the end of another free-flowing move.

The final quarter was played at a much slower pace to the relentless one that Rovers had set in the opening 65 minutes – though there was time for Armstrong to go close again when he hit the bar in injury time with a 30-yard free-kick.

It was something of a cruise for Rovers in the end but, as the promotion race hots up, it’s likely to be anything but between now and May. Eighteen games unbeaten with 17 to play, the race is on.