Rovers boss Tony Mowbray used the analogy of an underwater swimmer to explain his side’s hectic schedule.

Tonight will be the fourth of seven games during a 21-day period for Rovers before the next international break. Mowbray’s side face a long trip to the south coast tonight, a third away game in a row.

Barring September’s international break, not since the first week of the season have Rovers enjoyed seven days between matches.

And on his side’s schedule, Mowbray said: “I think there’s almost an acceptance that in the EFL you have to keep churning your players out.

“Yet the Premier League teams are complaining and I see they have only played six matches, we have played nine and this is the third round of the Carabao Cup.

“It feels like a heavy schedule already, and I know the international breaks are a welcome break, but it feels like you are swimming a length under water and then coming up and taking a gasp of air and then going again and swimming another length under water.

“It feels as if you have to go full pelt week after week after week and then you get a two week break so you should be trying to do lots of work and develop certain aspects with the team but really it’s about giving them rest and allowing them to recover.”

Rovers face Nottingham Forest on Saturday and Sheffield United next Wednesday, both at Ewood, before a televised clash at Bolton on October 6 rounds off the run of games.

“You don’t want to be working their legs too hard during period because you know you’re going to have another six weeks of two games a week,” he added.

“It’s a hard shift and I think that’s why the bigger clubs will come to the fore with the bigger depth and quality of their squads.

“Everyone is going to find that tough and you will get tired footballers as you head towards Christmas and New Year, you will pick up injuries, and I think that’s why the teams with the bigger budgets get through.

“Can the EFL look at it? I’m sure they do every season and look at it intently and see what they can do.

“This year there are no replays (in the FA Cup) or extra-time so they are trying really hard to help.

“As a football manager I work within the rules, I don’t see myself as someone who wants to change the world, I will abide by what the rules are.”