A quest for more control was Tony Mowbray’s reasoning behind the second half introductions of Jack Payne and Peter Whittingham.

The Rovers boss made the double switch 10 minutes in to the second half as the pair replaced Craig Conway and Bradley Dack.

It was to be a frustrating night for Rovers however, as they created few clear-cut opening in the goalless draw at Gillingham.

Whittingham was making his first appearance of 2018, used on the right of an attacking three, with Payne replacing Dack in the number 10 role, before Dominic Samuel was sent on in place Danny Graham in the final change.

Explaining his decisions, Mowbray said: “I just felt we needed to pass the ball better and needed more control.

“Sometimes we can win football games by working the ball in to the final third, work in to the box and Danny will make contact with it.

“They had some huge central defenders and it was hard to get any joy from it and I thought we would try something different and go through them.

“Whittingham and Jack Payne can pick a pass, but it wasn’t to be, and a lot of credit should go to them.”

Rovers dropped off top spot with the point, with Wigan retaking the lead on goal difference after their 4-1 win at Rochdale.

Mowbray’s men have another long trip this weekend, with Bristol Rovers their opponents, before returning to Ewood Park to host Peterborough United on Thursday week.

And Mowbray added: “Every game is tough now, home or away. They are all difficult games.

“At home, while we’ve had an extraordinary run of unbeaten games, as good as anyone in the EFL, we have to believe we can win our last two home games.

“Away from home we have some difficult games but ones that we’ve been winning all season.

“We need to maintain that competitive edge that we can bring to every game and look forward to the next challenge.”