Derrick Williams hopes two clean sheets can go some way to answering the question marks that have hung over the heads of the Rovers defenders since last season.

Rovers shipped 69 goals in 2018/19, 48 of which came away from home, the most in the Championship.

Tosin Adarabioyo, on loan from Manchester City, was the sole addition in the central defensive area, while captain Charlie Mulgrew was allowed to leave on deadline day.

Williams' form was part of Tony Mowbray's thinking when sanctioning that move, with the defender having started each of the last three matches after returning from a calf problem which saw him miss all of pre-season.

He has continued to impress, continuing a good understanding with Darragh Lenihan which saw them help Rovers to 13 points from the last six games of last season.

Rovers now have eight wins and six clean sheets in the 12 matches in which they have started alongside each other, and Williams said: “We’re still a bit away from how we want to play but two clean sheets is massive, particularly after conceding four goals in the first two games.

“The clean sheets are massive because we had a lot of questions over our heads from last year and we’re pleased.

“You have to ignore the outside and focus as a team.

“We have to focus on what we want to do and how we want to play and knew that it would come right.”

Christian Walton helped preserve a second successive clean sheet with a fine penalty save from Jarrod Bowen with 12 minutes on the watch.

Williams then came up with the winner just after the hour mark as Rovers claimed a first away victory of the season.

“He made an unreal save,” Williams said of the Brighton loanee’s penalty stop.

“Christian has a big stature so I wouldn’t like to take a penalty against him because he looks as though he takes up all of the goal.

“He came and take some good catches late on and that really took the pressure off us. That’s massive when a keeper does that and it really helps.”

Greg Cunningham, a former team-mate of Williams’ at Bristol City, joined on deadline day to become the third Republic of Ireland international in the back four.

He will be unavailable against his parent club this weekend, but 26-year-old Williams says there’s a good understanding between the pair and Lenihan, who have all been named in the provisional Ireland squad for games with Switzerland and Bulgaria next month.

“We’re quite close and I think that helps, we’re always talking to each other.

“We keep each other on our toes and not afraid of having a go at each other.

“So far we’ve looked alright and hopefully we can keep that going.”

Williams is often his own biggest critic, but Mowbray has praised the defender’s desire to keep on learning and improving having made a conscious decision to focus on pushing for a central defensive spot this season, despite playing much of his football for Rovers at left back.

“There is always stuff to work on but I was obviously happy with a clean sheet and a goal, it was about time,” Williams said.

“I knew I’d got a good contact on it but didn’t see it go in. I just saw Adam (Armstrong) running towards me and starting celebrating.”

“I get my head on a lot of first contacts in the box and hopefully now one has gone in more can follow.

“I’ve set myself a target and I will look to try and hit that now.”