Stewart Downing came to Rovers to play regular games, something he’s done with five starts so far, but he knows only good performances will keep him in the team.

Downing has impressed in his early days at Ewood Park and featured in every Championship fixture, as well as the Carabao Cup win over Oldham where he scored his first goal.

He is expected to keep his place for the visit of Millwall this afternoon but knows his early season displays will need to continue if he’s to be a mainstay in the side.

“I’m enjoying it, playing well, and if I’m playing well then I’ll be in the team and if I’m not then I won’t. It’s as simple as that,” Downing told the Lancashire Telegraph.

“The manager has been great with me. I might be left out and rested at times, or if the manager sees someone else being better for that game then fair enough, but generally I’ve been involved and I’m enjoying it.

“There are a lot of positive signs in the way we’re playing and hopefully it will all come together in what is a critical period.”

Downing retains a great hunger for the game, even in his 36th year and with more than 700 appearances at club and country level to his name.

Asked how big a factor enjoying his football was, he said: “It’s got to be at my age. There might not be many years left so enjoy it as much as you can.

“I want us to have a good season and contribute to help the club move forward.

“The manager wanted some more experienced players and me and Bradley Johnson have come in and done that, but there’s a good group here and we try and help each other wherever we can.”

Boss Tony Mowbray made Downing his first summer signing in June, keen to add more experience to his squad to try and plug the gap to the top six.

Approaching three months at the club, he admits: “It’s gone quick but it feels like I’ve been here ages at the same time.

“We’ve had the break, games have been coming thick and fast, but I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been everything I’d hoped it would be and more.”

Rovers return from the two week international break with a home fixture against Millwall.

They took seven points from their opening six games having been beaten 3-2 at West Brom last time out.  But Downing has seen positive signs that give reason to be optimistic moving in to the September games.

“We know we can score goals and we’re a new team who are still learning about each other, but I feel the early signs are positive,” he said.

“Sometimes the break can come at a good time, not just because of results, but getting to learn new things.

“This two week period hasn’t been about sitting around and chilling out, it’s been about learning about one another and working on things to improve and the way the manager wants us to play.

“It’s been a good couple of weeks, but that can only be proved by the results.”