DARRAGH Lenihan will travel with the Rovers squad to Portsmouth, with Tony Mowbray faced with working out when to reintroduce the defender.

The Irishman underwent surgery on a fractured metatarsal and hasn't played since the opening day defeat at Southend.

Lenihan has since played twice for the Under-23s, including 90 minutes in Friday's win over Reading, and is in contention to make his first-team return.

Mowbray said: “He came through his 90 minutes for the Under-23s with no problems.

“He’s in confident mood as he is generally, it’s great that he’s given himself the opportunity of being selected and I think moving forward he will be a big plus for us.

“His power, mobility and his ability with the ball, he’s vocal and a good footballer, but we know that, we don’t need to reiterate that.

“There was interest in him in the summer, I think the right thing was done, we needed to keep our best players and Darragh Lenihan fits in to that category.”

Rovers have gone nine games without keeping a clean sheet, while Lenihan's return could open up the possibility of Mowbray switching to a back three, a system he favoured towards the end of last season.

Lenihan will be part of the squad tomorrow evening, with Mowbray weighing up the possibility of including him from the start at Fratton Park.

“I think that has to come in to the equation,” the boss added.

“He played 30 minutes in a behind closed doors game at the training ground, played 60 minutes at Fulham, played 90 minutes against Reading.

“He feels good and talking to him he looks you right in the eye as if he is ready.

“The reality is that this is a first-team game, the adrenaline, the power, the speed you require in this game compared to an Under-23s game is different, but we will assess him.

“We will watch him in training, there’s a lot to assess, the make-up of the team, the fact we’ve struggled to keep clean sheets in recent weeks so is he going to help us or is it a bit of gamble to bring him in a bit rusty?

“We have to find the right time and hopefully the right time is pretty soon whether it’s this week or next we will wait and see but Lenihan will give us a decision to make.

“It might impact the shape of the team, it might not, I think we have to be flexible and find ways to win matches.”