Derrick Williams says he only wants to be considered as a central defensive option after making his first appearance of the season at Fulham.

Williams started 10 of Rovers’ final 11 games of last season in central defence and was drafted in for his first start of this campaign in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat.

The 25-year-old has played much of his football for Rovers as a left back, but revealed he has spoken with manager Tony Mowbray about a change of role.

With captain Charlie Mulgrew having been allowed to depart on deadline day, and full back Greg Cunningham signing from Cardiff, Williams will be given a chance to compete for a starting spot alongside Tosin Adarabioyo and Darragh Lenihan, who missed the Fulham defeat through injury.

“I had a chat with the manager and said I wanted to focus on centre half,” Williams told the Lancashire Telegraph.

“He said he was going to bring in a left back and I said that was fine because I wanted to back my ability and try and focus on being the best I can in one position.

“That’s what I will try and do, work on my aggression a bit more.

“I thought on the ball and composure I was fine.”

Williams spent three years at Bristol City, including winning promotion from League One in 2014/15, alongside Rovers’ new signing Cunningham.

The pair are also Republic of Ireland internationals, and Williams believes the loan signing will prove to be a smart acquisition for Rovers and challenge Amari’i Bell for the left back spot.

“He’s a very good player,” Williams said of the 28-year-old.

“He’s an Irish international, good at going forward and defensively.

“It will be good competition for Belly and that can only be good for everyone.”

Goals from Tom Cairney and Aleksandr Mitrovic were enough to see Rovers fall to a second successive defeat.

The hosts scored late in either half, but Rovers competed well for the most part and were the better side in a bright opening 45 minutes.

But left frustrated by the defeat, Williams said: “First half I thought we played well, were the better team and had a couple of chances.

“If we had taken them then it would have been a different game.

“Cairney scores an unreal goal and that was a kick in the teeth.

“The second half was a bit frustrating, but there were lots of positives and I think if we keep playing like how we did in the first hour we’ll be right up there.”

Williams failed to feature in any of the pre-season friendlies because of a calf problem and partnered Tosin Adarabioyo as the Manchester City loanee made his debut.

They were part of three Rovers changes, and Williams added: “That was my first 90 minutes since Swansea (the last game of last season) and having only trained for one full day, considering that, I was quite pleased with how it went.

“The Mitrovic goal annoyed me a bit. I thought I’d done well to keep him quiet, but I thought it was a bit of a lucky goal, so that was frustrating.

“The first goal, you can’t do anything about that. It was an unreal goal from an unreal player.

“That can happen, particularly when you’re playing against better teams.

“But I thought me and Tosin got the communication going, and we felt comfortable. Usually they pick teams apart but they didn’t do that to us.

“It was a frustrating day but there are positives to take.”

  • Meanwhile, Rovers Under-23s start their Premier League 2 campaign against Arsenal at Leyland tonight (7pm).

Harry Chapman and Dominic Samuel are both expected to feature as they look to boost their fitness ahead of pushing for a first-team spot.