Tony Mowbray has been pleased with the impact of Stewart Downing – and his versatility makes him an option to fill in at left-back after Rovers were rocked by the injury to Greg Cunningham.

Downing arrived on a free transfer in the summer and has been involved in every Championship match so far for Rovers, operating in a number of positions.

The 35-year-old has started the last two in central midfield, but did play at left-back in pre-season, with a slot opening up there following news that on-loan Cunningham is expected to miss the majority of the season with a knee injury sustained at QPR last weekend.

Rovers were also hit by injury to Darragh Lenihan, the central defender out for up to eight weeks, leaving Mowbray light on numbers at the back.

And whether Downing does move to left-back, or continues in his more familiar midfield roles, Mowbray has been pleased with his impact

“I remember meeting him at my house and talking to him and him asking me where he would play and my decisions,” Mowbray said.

“I suggested he could play left back, central midfield, off the left, off the right, behind the striker.

“His quality means he makes good decisions with the ball and be a big player in the Championship, as I saw last year in the five times I watched Middlesbrough live.

“He was generally their best player so when it arose, even with his age, it was a no-brainer to whether we could add Stewy Downing to our group, even if he was showing players how to stay with the ball, pick the right pass.

“He’s played at the top level, he’s played for England, for Liverpool, and he has such a lovely, soft personality to go with it. He’s not a moaner, he just gets on with it and sets a really good example to our young players in particular.

“He has shown his versatility, I can shift him from right wing to left wing and I can play him centre mid and he just keeps the ball moving. I’m delighted with him.”

Downing made his first central midfield start for Rovers against Nottingham Forest, alongside Lewis Travis, and continued in that role against QPR, albeit with Corry Evans as his partner.

Travis missed the Loftus Road trip with a tight hamstring, one he’s expected to shake off in time for this weekend’s visit of Huddersfield Town.

Downing finished the pre-season friendly with Rangers at left-back, and played the majority of the game at Blackpool there, but Amari’i Bell would be the most like-for-like replacement for Cunningham, having done so at QPR.

A back of captain Elliott Bennett, Tosin Adarabioyo, Derrick Williams and Bell would be the same one Rovers fielded in the defeat to Fulham on August 10.