IF Tony Mowbray was wondering about the balance of his side before this trip to West London – he will now have even more to ponder during the international break.

With Rovers 1-0 down at the interval at the Kiyan Prince Community Stadium, the visiting boss was left with a conundrum.

It had been a turgid opening 45 minutes in which Burnley loanee Nahki Wells’ goal on the half hour was the difference between two sides who had largely cancelled each other out.

Mowbray’s men had looked vulnerable at times but were positively tepid at the other end. So when deciding whether to stick or twist during the half-time interval, it was the latter, the manager having made no secret of how keen he is to make his side into a more progressive outfit this season.

Off came an isolated Danny Graham and on came Lewis Holtby, many in the away end having hoped to see him in front the start.

Any hope of a second half revival was quickly extinguished though with Rovers’ 15-game unbeaten run against the Rs soon under real threat.

After a soft first goal in which Ryan Manning was allowed to cross by Elliott Bennett and Adam Armstrong and Bright Osayi-Samuel outjumped Amari’i Bell allowing Wells to score, worse was to come.

QPR doubled their advantage just four minutes into the second period when the game’s best player Ebere Eze found acres of space before dancing through a lame Derrick Williams challenge to score.

The defender nearly made amends when converting Holtby’s cross at the other end, only to be quickly told he had done so from an offside position.

Rovers didn’t have to wait long to officially hit back though with Bradley Dack fouled in the box just before the hour, picking himself up to score a fifth of the season from the spot.

In reality it was a only brief respite though as Osayi-Samuel added to his earlier assist by restoring the two-goal advantage, the ball worked into the box far too easily before Darragh Lenihan gave the former Blackpool man the space to turn and fire beyond an increasingly helpless Christian Walton.

Lenihan was soon to leave the field with a knee problem, just as Greg Cunningham had done earlier in the piece meaning both will stay at Brockhall during the international break.

Williams will link up with the Republic of Ireland however having been called up as cover but he was the man outjumped by Jordan Hugill as the West Ham loanee headed in the home side’s fourth 13 minutes from time.

At the other end, Armstrong had been the centre of attention pre-match as he stood on the verge of 200 career games and 50 goals.

Having been a threat during spells in the first period, four minutes from time he ensured both boxes were ticked on an otherwise forgettable day. 

He was on hand to convert Bennett’s cross but his third goal in the last four games brought the merest ripple of applause from the more than 1,000 who had made the trip to the capital hoping for better.

Mowbray unsurprisingly cut a dejected figure post-match, the Rovers boss having seen any hopes of getting back to winning ways after two frustrating home games extinguished emphatically.

He gave short shrift to questions from waiting journalists and was clearly in a hurry, like those fans who had made the trip, to make a swift return north.

While admirably keen to get his side on the front foot and controlling play, here Rovers were badly exposed defensively, as Eze and Wells led the charge for Mark Warburton’s side on the break.

Two changes to the side that drew with Nottingham Forest saw Corry Evans replace Lewis Travis, missing with a hamstring injury, and Joe Rothwell preferred to Sam Gallagher, problems on the day reducing the £5 million man to a role as a spectator on the bench.

Evans and Rothwell were making just their second starts of the campaign with the latter’s introduction meaning the front four - with Graham, Dack and Armstrong - was the same one that brought Rovers so much success towards the end of last season.

But a bad day at the office means that with Bradley Johnson also among those substitutes not used, Mowbray now has a couple of weeks to think about his next move ahead of Huddersfield’s visit to Ewood Park.

It looks to be a case of pragmatism battling principles.

Having established themselves back in the second tier with the former, Mowbray had hoped he would be able to move up the Championship table with the latter this time around.

In familiar territory in 14th with just about a quarter of the season gone, finding that middle ground is proving tricky however.