Rovers reporter Rich Sharpe picks out four talking points from the win at Hull City.


Tony Mowbray is always looking for improvement from his side, but they seem to reserve their best displays for Hull City. After two wins last season, with no goals conceded, they chalked up their first away of the season at the KCOM Stadium, as they did 12 months ago.

Mowbray now has eight wins over Hull in his managerial career, more than any other side.

While those are positives, the boss is still wanting more, and having managed an own goal, a penalty, and header from a set play in terms of goals in their opening three league games, he will be keen for Rovers to score from open play and add to their goal tally.

They were unlucky to score just the once on Tuesday night, however. Bradley Johnson appears to have a happy knack of getting on the end of things in the box, heading wide early on before twice being denied by the frame of the goal.

Stewart Downing was also denied by the post, while only smart goalkeeping from George Long denied Adam Armstrong and Greg Cunningham.

Sam Gallagher is one player in need of a goal, his last coming in January 2018, while Bradley Dack is showing signs that he’s moving towards his top form.

Rovers managed 13 shots at Hull and 15 against Middlesbrough so are certainly looking more threatening than in the opening two games.



With a left-footed central defender and central midfielder, added to a left back and left winger, it gave Rovers a real balance and enabled them to make the pitch as big as possible.

This was even more noticeable when Adam Armstrong moved from centre forward to the right wing, and the amount of space they were able to create allowed them to keep hold of the ball and not allow Hull any chance of building sustained pressure.

Rovers attempted 453 passes, with 356 of those being accurate. Only Adam Armstrong (50 per cent) of the outfield pass didn’t complete at least three quarters of their passes as Rovers kept the ball much better than we’ve seen.

The influence of Downing and Johnson in that was clear, with Downing’s quality creating six chances in all for his side.

Mowbray is eager to play more of a possession-based style, wanting to dominate the ball and control games. There were encouraging signs of it coming together.



There was something of a surprise when Adam Armstrong was picked to play in a central striking role for just the sixth time in his Rovers career.

The plan was clear, as it was on the same ground where he impressed leading the line 12 months ago, that Rovers would look to use his pace to exploit gaps in the Hull defence.

They were certainly apparent, but whether a combination of a lack of care with the ball forward, or Armstrong struggling to hold his run to stay onside, it didn’t quite come off.

He moved out wide following the arrival of Danny Graham and gave Stephen Kingsley a really tough time, though his final ball didn’t quite have the desired effect.

In Graham, Gallagher, Armstrong and Ben Brereton, Rovers do have options in attack, all different, and Mowbray has shown he will select on a horses for courses basis.



Mowbray may have named just five unchanged teams in the whole of last season, but he will be disappointed that he will need to break up a back five which has kept back-to-back clean sheets for this weekend’s visit of Cardiff City.

Cunningham has slotted in seamlessly at left back and made an impressive start to life in a Rovers shirt. However, he is unable to feature against his parent club on Saturday.

With Derrick Williams having impressed so much in central defence, and wants to focus his attention on that role, it would be a big surprise were he moved to left back to cover Cunningham’s absence.

Should Tosin Adarabioyo be back to full fitness, as expected, then there is the option of going with a three-man defence, something Mowbray hasn’t ruled out.

However, to cause the least disruption, the most likely swap would be to bring back Amari’i Bell who started the opening two games.

Downing is another option, but Bell is the more natural option, and played there 42 times last season. Should he get the nod, he will hopefully see this as a great opportunity that he will hope to take with both hands.