Tony Mowbray admits there was a sense of shock on his native Teesside this week after last weekend’s home defeat to Aston Villa.

Boro were humbled 3-0 at The Riverside, only a second defeat in front of their own fans ahead of Rovers’ visit tomorrow.

Tony Pulis’ side had conceded just three times at home before the Villa reverse, and will be eyeing a response against Rovers.

That defeat leaves Boro fourth in the table, five points behind leaders Leeds and, on the Villa result, Mowbray said: “I think it was a shock.

“Having been on Teesside for a few days this week a lot of people were really surprised, but also complimentary about how well Aston Villa played.

“There’s been some frustration, because they have an expectation of being up there and competing, if not for the automatic promotion spots then definitely the top six, as they did last year.

“Their ambition will be to get back to the Premier League before the parachute payments run out.

“For us, we’ll go there and try and make it a competitive game.

“We have to play how we play, but if we are over ambitious at times then they do have the quality to hurt you on the transition because they have good players.

“But it’s a game we will go and try and be positive in.”