There were positives, but again no points, as Rovers were beaten on the road at Fulham.

The reliance on the promotion heroes, and comfort blanket of their ready-made goals, from two seasons ago seems to be drifting away, with Charlie Mulgrew loaned out and Danny Graham only among the substitutes again.

David Raya was sold to Brentford, Richie Smallwood hasn't made the matchday 18 so far and Corry Evans an unused substitute in both games.

Without Mulgrew’s quality from set pieces, and Graham only turned to off the bench, can Rovers replace that weight of goals their experienced duo have provided over the course of the last two seasons? 56 in all.

That is one of the unanswered questions as they went 90 minutes without a shot on target, despite plenty of good approach play and no shortage of efforts at goal.

Adam Armstrong fired just wide shortly after half-time, while Sam Gallagher’s looping header drifted wide in the second period. And although Christian Walton was hardly extended at the other end, a failure to test Marcus Bettinelli would be rued as a Tom Cairney thunderbolt and Aleksandr Mitrovic tap-in handed the hosts all three points.

Accounting for statistics which cross-over seasons can be a futile exercise, but the fact remains that Rovers have lost 12 of their last 19 Championship fixtures since the end of January. In 10 of those, they have conceded at least twice.

Every transition takes time, and patience will be required, but in the same way they went back to Graham towards the halfway stage of the 2017/18 promotion campaign, will something similar be required this time around?

Yet there were signs of what Mowbray is looking to move towards during an encouraging opening 45 minutes. There looked a more athletic look to the side, something which the Rovers boss is clearly conscious of having allowed Mulgrew to depart on deadline day.

They hassled well, kept a good shape about them, and sprung in to life in possession, only to see moves break down a little too easily in the final third.

Questions before the match centred around the absences of Darragh Lenihan and Ryan Nyambe, just days after allowing Mulgrew to depart. After seeing last season unravel after the closure of the January window, and a current shortage of defensive options, Rovers fans won’t want to see a repeat.

But their defensive work was sound for the most part. Derrick Williams was drafted in for his first minutes since the final day of last season alongside summer signing Tosin Adarabioyo. Deadline day acquisition Greg Cunningham should add a new dimension to the left flank, defensively and going forward, but in attack, Rovers have just a freak own goal to show for their efforts from 180 minutes of football.

Mowbray is seemingly happy with the choices offered to him at both ends of the pitch though, with his deadline day dealings focusing as much on trying to add another midfielder, with two Premier League loanees, Harrison Reed being one of them, targeted.

With 16 minutes to go, Mowbray sent on Graham. Rovers may have ended the game with as many forwards as they own on the pitch, but for their second successive week, the changes failed to inspire a comeback.

As against Charlton, the subs hindered rather than helped, Rovers losing their shape and a scoreline which flattered Fulham in truth, could have been wider when Bobby Decordova-Reid missed a sitter from eight yards late on.

For all Fulham’s wealth of resource, there wasn’t the gulf in class some supporters feared, with the hosts failing to live up to their billing of pre-season favourites, making for a nervous atmosphere around Craven Cottage as Rovers pressed them back.

Inside 20 seconds Bradley Johnson headed wide from an Armstrong cross before the Rovers midfielder drew a good block out of Harry Arter.

Gallagher glanced a header wide from an Elliott Bennett free kick, while at the other end, Anthony Knockaert flashed a shot wide in a rare sight of goal.

That was until Cairney picked his spot, the right-hand top corner, with a stunning curling effort. From then on it was always going to be a difficult afternoon.

But it would have got much better had Armstrong’s shot nestled in the bottom corner rather than just flashing wide moments after the break.

While Mitrovic had been quiet all game, there was the sense that a second goal was coming, the Serbian striker anticipating the loose ball to turn in a Joe Bryan cross.

A poor start gives no guarantees in much the same way a good start doesn't make a season, but with a daunting fixture list on the horizon, Mowbray will need to find the necessary answers to make this team the one everyone knows they can, and have threatened, to be.