Three things for Tony Mowbray to consider ahead of Rovers' trip to Fulham.


Fulham could name the same central midfield three that started against Rovers at Craven Cottage in March 2017. It was that trio of Kevin McDonald, Stefan Johansen, and former Rover Tom Cairney, who played a pivotal role in their Championship promotion campaign the following season, playing a combined 115 games that year.

Even Tony Mowbray conceded their quality.

“I think Fulham will be strong because they have the same midfield that was so dominant two years ago,” he said.

“Tom Cairney is an exceptional player at this level, (Stefan) Johansen scores goals and they have (Aleksandar) Mitrovic up front and they have some pretty good footballers who are talented at this level.”

Bradley Johnson made an impressive start to life in a Rovers shirt, named man of the match in the opening day defeat to Charlton.

Rovers will need all his physical qualities, and experience, as well as the tenacity of Lewis Travis, if they are to stop that supply line to the imposing Mitrovic.

Bradley Dack, man-marked out of the opening game, could also help out by stopping Kevin McDonald starting off attacks from deep, but the midfield battle will be an intrigiung one. 



Despite involving four new signings on the opening day, Rovers fielded a back four made up of players at the club last season.

Their fifth summer signing, and sole defensive addition, Manchester City loanee Tosin Adarabioyo, watched on from the stands as Rovers conceded two goals from balls in to their box, their Achilles heel last season.

They shipped 69 goals in 2018/19, 48 of them away from home, the most in the division.

Mowbray has faith the 21-year-old can help alleviate those defensive problems, but after featuring in none of his parent club’s friendlies, it would be a leap of faith from Mowbray to throw him straight in.

Pairing him with Darragh Lenihan however, may bring out the Irishman’s leadership qualities which he demonstrated in the absence of captain Charlie Mulgrew last season.

With Derrick Williams and Sam Hart still returning from injury, it means the only other possible change to the backline would be the possible selection of Ryan Nyambe over Elliott Bennett.

Whoever does play in the full back areas will likely have to guard against the threats of Anthony Knockaert from the right and Ivan Cavaleiro from the left, two players who have previously starred at this level.



Sam Gallagher got the nod over Danny Graham for the opening game, before moving to the wing when the experienced frontman was introduced.

While struggling to provide the same level of hold-up as Graham, his extra movement at the top end of the pitch could work in his favour when Mowbray decides who to go with in attack at Craven Cottage.

Graham started 37 matches last season, though seven of the nine he missed being away from home.

A striker was on the wishlist this summer to take some of the pressure away from Graham, who turns 34 on Monday, and also allow Rovers to play a different way.

With No.1 target Gallagher on board, Mowbray will likely see him as someone who can provide more of a counter-attacking threat away from home, as well as pressing from the front with greater intensity.