Tony Mowbray says ‘the Danny Graham factor’ is something he will have to consider after the striker played a key role in Rovers’ Carabao Cup win over Oldham Athletic.

Sam Gallagher was preferred in attack for the opening two Championship games to Graham, player of the season in 2018/19, but he had a hand in two of Rovers’ three goals in the last-gasp win over the Latics.

Graham, who turned 34 on Monday, demonstrated his great understanding with Bradley Dack after he came off the bench to help turn the game in Rovers’ favour.

Mowbray is keen to move away from being reliant on the physicality of Graham at the top end of the pitch, but after struggling to create opportunities in defeats to Charlton and Fulham, admits Graham is in his thoughts to start against Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Rovers have had plenty of the ball in their opening two league games but have so far managed just two shots on target, and one own goal to show for their efforts.

“The Danny Graham factor in our team is something I really have to think about and study because I don’t want to be the team that we have been for two years that just hits long balls to Danny and get people around him,” the boss said.

“I think if you are going to have consistency about your play then you have to find a level of domination and push teams back with the ball, as the best teams can do.

“Aston Villa and Norwich last year pushed you back with their possession and make you feel as though you were hanging on and needed to score from a set play because they had all the ball in your half and that is where I want to try and take this team.

“And yet that is not where we have had success over two years but I am trying to improve that aspect of our club but what I learned (against Oldham) is let’s not throw away everything that has been positive over the last two years because it got us out of jail.”

Graham has 48 league goals in 112 starts for Rovers, reaching double figures in each of his three full seasons as a permanent player.

The £5m summer signing of Gallagher was to add competition to Graham at the top end of the pitch, but Mowbray says the pair will both have big roles to play given the differing qualities they offer.

“I have had long conversations with Danny,” he added.

“When we see a weakness in a team and we think we can push a team back and get things around the edge of their box then Danny will be starting football matches for this club as we move forward.

“In other games, like tough away games where I think we will have to defend a bit deeper and on transition we have to break away with legs and athleticism and run in behind, then maybe Danny impacts the game later on.”