Rich Sharpe picks out three talking points from Rovers' defeat at Fulham.


Two days after the January transfer window closed, and Rovers allowed Paul Downing to join Doncaster on loan, they were beaten heavily in London, 5-2 at Brentford.

On that day they lost Darragh Lenihan to injury, while Charlie Mulgrew and Derrick Williams were already ruled out.

They arrived at Craven Cottage without Lenihan (knee) and Ryan Nyambe (concussion) and having allowed Mulgrew to leave on loan.

That left them having to field a central defensive partnership of Derrick Williams and Tosin Adarabioyo. The latter making his debut, while both hadn’t featured in any pre-season games.

The threat of Mitrovic, Cavaleiro and Knockaert was obvious, but to their credit, they stuck to their task well.

Adarabioyo covered the ground well, while Williams made several smart interceptions.

They weren’t tested much by aerial balls, and that is one area they are likely to be heavily reliant on Lenihan.

Any more injuries will leave them desperately short of options, but when fit, this pairing showed an ability to play higher up the pitch than previously able, and developed a decent understanding.


Rovers looked particularly bright in the opening 45 minutes, with Bradley Dack looking back to his buzzing best.

Adam Armstrong provided a threat down the right, but the final ball in to the box saw them unable to fashion the quality of chances their approach play threatened.

Sam Gallagher headed wide on two occasions, but the closest they came was a 25-yard strike from Armstrong.

Without the set piece precision of Mulgrew, that particular route to goal didn’t offer much by way of threat. A failure to test the opposition keeper was apparent in home defeats to Middlesbrough, Preston and Stoke towards the end of last season.

Despite the options and investment in that area, Rovers still need to find solutions.


Rovers were in need of some inspiration as they game ticked in to the final quarter, their first half promise having dissipated somewhat.

Mowbray turned to his bench, with Ben Brereton the first change, followed by Stewart Downing and then Danny Graham.

The moves were certainly attacking, with four strikers across the frontline by the time of Graham’s arrival with still 16 minutes to go.

Unfortunately, an Elliott Bennett crosses headed wide by Gallagher, there was no chances fashioned, in that time, plus the five additional minutes.

And with Bradley Dack dropping in to a deeper role, Rovers struggled to gain possession against a three-man Fulham midfield.

Once Mitrovic made it 2-0 with eight minutes to go, that was that, and having lost their shape somewhat, the game started to ran away from them.