When Rovers’ interest in Stewart Downing became apparent, any eyebrows raised focused on the fact he was about to turn 35 and on where he would fit in to the side.

Rovers had ended last season with the searing pace of Adam Armstrong on one side and Joe Rothwell on the other in what had proved an effective partnership on the flanks.

Would he be a like-for-like replacement in the squad for Craig Conway who announced he was turning down the offer of a new contract some weeks prior?

But were his days as a flying left winger now over and a fringe role in the squad was it all was to be?

Early indications illustrate just what Tony Mowbray knew he would getting in a player whose pedigree was never in question.

Word within the Rovers squad, and from those who know him best, will testify to what a great character he is.

The fact he opted, despite agreeing just a 12-month deal at Ewood Park, to move closer to East Lancashire so to not have to make the daily commute from his native north east, highlights his willingness to throw himself in to life at Rovers.

So far, he’s one of nine players to feature in all six of Rovers’ Championship fixtures. He also came through 90 minutes in the Carabao Cup first round win over Oldham where he scored his first goal.

And his statistics are impressive, stacking up against the whole division, not just among the Rovers players.

Only Connor Mahoney, once of this parish and now at Millwall, has delivered more crosses in to the box than Downing’s eight.

And only three players, Leeds midfielder Mateusz Klich (17) and Reading’s John Swift (23) have delivered more key passes so far this season than Downing (16).

That represents one key pass every 26.6 minutes played, compared with 41.8 last season. He has also matched the one assist he managed during the whole of 2018/19 at Middlesbrough.

Of the Rovers players to start a league game so far, only Lewis Travis has completed more passes than Downing, who has completed 171 of his 209 attempted passes.

He’s also ninth on the list of Rovers players when it comes to minutes played, starting five of the six matches and coming off the bench in the defeat at Fulham.

He might not yet have replicated Charlie Mulgrew’s goal threat direct from corners and free kicks, but his delivery has for the most part being impressive.

Rovers still have scored just once from open play in the Championship, with Downing’s delivery creating goals against Charlton, Hull and Bradley Johnson’s strike at West Brom.

Experience was a buzzword around Rovers’ summer recruitment, but Downing’s promising start to life in blue and white halves shows his quality on the ball, given Mowbray’s desire to play a more possession-based game, will count for more.