Let’s be frank. Saturday has to be the turning point.

The performances of some players have as much passion as a dead halibut and smell just as bad.

When faced with any pressure at all they concede possession. When offered an opportunity they make the incorrect choice.

This is not a law of averages, which can be explained somewhat.

It is, plain and simple, a failure to do the one job they have – be good at football.

Lately every team has played above themselves against Rovers as soon as they visibly realise what their management team has told them. This is a team who have no belief.

So where does that leave Tony Mowbray?

Is he the one to carry the can? Will his persistence with certain players cost him? Will his reluctance to play fan favourites turn more fans against him?

Obviously I can only answer the first question.

Ultimately, he has to. It is a truism of modern football that managers have to constantly be progressing or they are under closer and closer scrutiny from all quarters.

No manager should be removed unless a superior candidate is instantly available. I do not think one is.

So if Mowbray is where the buck stops and there is no obvious ‘good fit’ for the club, where does that leave us?

The next three games are against form teams, with two away, before what could be the real crunch game with struggling Barnsley.

We all have opinions on what Mowbray should do and my first one is to ask Mark Venus what exactly he offers the club besides a jarring reminder of Paul Lambert?

He seems to evade any of the criticism.

The loss of important players has to be factored in but how many players can honestly say they deserve to be a certainty on the team sheet? Three, at a push?

Saturday’s trip to Preston North End must be approached by the players and management as a derby game, a massive game and one in which no Rover should leave anything on the pitch besides 11 choked footballers in Lilywhites shirts.

Nothing else will do.