Rovers reporter Rich Sharpe picks out four talking points from the defeat at West Brom. 


Six players (Walton, Bennett, Travis, Johnson, Dack and Gallagher) have been ever-presents for Rovers, with three players (Downing, Lenihan and Williams) starting five matches so far.

With Greg Cunningham having started three of the matches he’s been available for, it means that while Rovers haven’t yet named an unchanged team, the selection of Tony Mowbray has been fairly consistent.

Three other players (Graham, Armstrong and Rothwell) have all featured in each game so far, with 16 players having started a league match.

Despite that, does Mowbray know his best side yet? It feels he does in most positions, but the right wing and central striker roles appear the most up for grabs. Though early suggestions are the boss will very much take a horses for course approach to each game. 

Armstrong started up top in the cup defeat at Sheffield United and at Hull, with Graham getting the nod for two of the three Ewood matches, with Gallagher notching up four starts as the central striker.

Competition will hot up in central defence once Tosin Adarabioyo returns to full fitness after the international break, but the composition of Rovers’ front four is the one that Mowbray seemingly needs to crack.

Gallagher’s best performances have actually come when playing from the right, with Graham seemingly seen as a man to throw on when Rovers chase the game away from home, with his starts most likely to be on home soil.

Downing looks a solid acquisition and if Mowbray is get a more keep-ball approach, then he’s likely to start more games than not.

That means on other side Rovers need a sprinkling of pace, but also a goal threat, something they also need to find from their central striker.

That remains an area to improve, and one several players will be looking to stake their claim for.


It was an issue that blighted them in the second half of last season and again cost Rovers dear at The Hawthorns.

The game turned on the three goals in 18 first-half minutes as the visitors saw their 1-0 lead evaporate and the game run away from them.

It came during the hosts’ most dominating period as Rovers were undone down the flanks.

Greg Cunningham was culpable for the first goal, allowing Matt Phillips to somehow get beyond him when looking in complete control of the situation.

Darnell Furlong pounced on two poor bits of defending from Adam Armstrong, who spent much of the first half as a left wing back, in the lead up to the second, while the third owed much to the excellence of Grady Diangana, but will be one Darragh Lenihan won’t want to see again.

Rovers needed to find some sense of control to stop the Baggies’ pressure, but that never came.

How they respond to setbacks moving forward will show us whether they have learned the lessons from last season.


Rovers reach the international break with seven points from six games which leaves them in 17th place in the Championship table.

The opening-day defeat still rankles, not least the way they played in the late stages of it, despite even Charlton’s impressive start to the season.

A tough opening six fixtures, on paper at least, are out of the way though and Rovers will be keen to kick on after the break. But so too should they reflect on some positives, as well as areas to address, from the opening games, particularly a desire to look more threatening from open play.

You would certainly take Rovers’ next six over their opening six, with four of those games which follow the international break coming at Ewood Park.

So no better time to find their best form as the season starts to take shape.


Less than 30 seconds were on the watch when Rovers took the lead through Bradley Dack's first league goal of the season. 

It was just the second time this calendar year, after Dack scored after 90 seconds at Brentford in February, they had scored inside the opening 10 minutes of a match.

That was something they only managed twice last season, the other being Danny Graham's second minute header in the win over Leeds.

If anything, the early goal seemed to stir the hosts in to action.

The goal came about from pressing high up the pitch and winning the ball around the West Brom 18 yard box.

But not until the second period, when they began to snap in to tackles and play with more energy, did Rovers manage to do that again.

Rather than give them a huge lift which it should have done, the early goal seemed to stun Rovers more than it did the Baggies.