Corry Evans remains in Tony Mowbray’s plans despite not yet kicking a ball for Rovers in the Championship this season.

The Northern Ireland international started 33 games last season, and 25 times in the League One promotion campaign, but has been restricted to just two Carabao Cup outings this season.

Evans will return to Rovers tomorrow to re-join his team-mates after international duty where he captained his country in a win over Luxembourg and impressed in a 2-0 defeat to Germany on Monday night.

Lewis Travis and Bradley Johnson have been Mowbray’s preferred central midfield pairing so far, with Richie Smallwood another casualty of their continued partnership.

But Mowbray told the Lancashire Telegraph: “As I’ve said to Corry, he’s very much in our plans. I can only pick so many players.

“Travis has warranted his place for his athletic performances and his desire to win the ball. I think Bradley Johnson has been one of our best players this year, strong, powerful, simplistic with his passing.

“He looks like he can break the box and score a goal.

“Unless I’m going to change the whole system to get Corry in, then he’s going to have to be patient.

“As footballers do, they go in and out of form. I took Bradley Johnson off at half-time against West Brom because I didn’t think he was particularly good in the first half.

“Corry has to keep training really hard and then when his chance comes he has to be the best player if he can and stay in the team if he can and make me think about someone else’s position.”

John Buckley has been preferred off the bench to Evans so far, coming on in four of the six Championship matches.

The teenager has established himself in the matchday squad and like Evans, started both the Carabao Cup matches against Oldham and Sheffield United.

While Travis and Johnson have started all six Championship matches together in central midfield, Mowbray says there are no guaranteed starters at the club and that everyone will get an opportunity throughout the course of the season.

He added: “As I’ve always said, they have to compete to get in the team.

“I genuinely don’t have favourites.

“I pick them on their work ethic, their talent, yes on the back of performance levels, and that’s how it has to be.”

Defeat for Northern Ireland leaves them locked on 12 points with Germany from their five matches. Netherlands are three points further back with a game in hand.

Evans now has 55 caps and will look to be involved for his country next month when they travel to the Netherlands for a Euro 2020 qualifier and Czech Republic in a friendly.