Richie Smallwood admits he has it all to do once again to cement his place in the Rovers side this season.

Smallwood was the only ever present last term, featuring in all 46 league games, in an excellent debut campaign following his move from Rotherham United.

Rovers have already made one midfield addition, in the form of Joe Rothwell from Oxford United, and the 27-year-old Smallwood anticipates fierce competition in that area of the pitch.

Smallwood is held in high regard by boss Tony Mowbray but knows that won’t count for anything when Rovers get their Championship campaign underway at Ipswich on August 4.

“It’s a fresh start for everyone,” Smallwood told the Lancashire Telegraph at the club’s pre-season training camp in Austria.

“The manager will assess everyone as they come back, see how the sessions go and it’s important to impress again.

“There will be a lot of competition again, healthy competition, training will be intense and there’s going to places to fight for.

 “I’ll be doing exactly the same as I did last season, hopefully putting in the same level of performance in pre-season and show that I warrant a shirt come August.”

The Rovers players underwent some medical testing on day one of their camp in Austria on Monday morning, before movement work in the afternoon prior to some long distance running.

Rovers will be spend the week in the Oberwart district of Austria before heading back to Brockhall, where they will resume preparations ahead of the first friendly at Hibs on Sunday, July 8.

The squad met up at the airport on Sunday two months on from clinching promotion at Doncaster.

But the tough-tackling Smallwood says those celebrations are now just memories, with Rovers looking to create fresh ones upon their Championship return.

He said: “It’s in the past – there’s no point dwelling on it, we’ve had our success.

“We’ve shown the character and quality we’ve got and it’s now about showing it again for another 46 games.

“That’s all they are now, memories. They will live with us for the rest of our careers and ones we’ll look back on.

“But we want to make fresh memories, and hopefully that will start with Ipswich away in August.”

Rothwell was the only new addition to the squad in Austria after securing his move from the Kassam Stadium last Friday.

Mowbray is still looking to add to his ranks, but he already has 25 players who represented the first-team in 2017/18 under contract.

Smallwood wasn’t part of the squad relegated from the Championship in 2016/17, but assessing the Rovers ranks, the former Middlesbrough man has belief in the group ahead of the season.

“I think with the squad we’ve got from last season, I think we’d have done well in the Championship,” he added.

“We have nothing to fear. There are some big clubs, but we will take it game by game.

“Hopefully we’ll get off to a good start and then bring on the big boys.”