Tony Mowbray praised ‘immense’ Tosin Adarabioyo as he marshalled a new-look Rovers defence in the win over Sheffield Wednesday.

Adarabioyo had a new centre half partner, with Ryan Nyambe moving inside from right back and Derrick Williams switching across to left back.

Mowbray explained that was as a reaction to the problems Rovers had in dealing with the physicality of Preston’s forward line where they let a two goal lead slip to lose 3-2.

Adarabioyo came up with the equalising goal, and won more headers than anyone on the pitch, in his most commanding performance since signing on loan from Manchester City.

The 21-year-old also demonstrated his quality on the ball, with an excellent pass in the lead up to Rovers’ winner, but it was his defensive work that most impressed his boss.

“I thought Tosin was immense, moving Derrick out wide probably took some pressure off him physically which he’s been struggling with,” Mowbray explained.

“Although he scored a goal, he put in a big performance outside of that.

“We’ve had some problems recently with the directness of teams and we did a bit of work on putting Tosin to the side of attackers and taking pressure off Derrick who’s been playing at centre-half recently, and we put Derrick at left-back because, although he carries a level of physicality, he finds it really tough to deal with big attackers and we told Tosin to focus on their big attackers, without focussing too much on getting challenges in left and right, leaving Ryan to do that.

“I thought Tosin competed exceptionally well and won first contact for us on a lot of occasions.

“People sometimes underestimate the importance of heading the ball back over the halfway line at goal-kicks, but I thought he was magnificent and he topped off his performance with his goal at the back-stick.

“I thought Ryan was really good at centre-half, despite being a bit nervous in the first-half being reluctant to pass forward, but in the second-half he hit some great forward passes.”

John Buckley came off the bench to score an injury-time winner in a move that included all three substitutes.

Rovers had earlier sent on Danny Graham and Joe Rothwell, the latter dropped to the bench after making a third start of the season at Preston.

Rothwell had himself gone close with the score at 0-0, with Mowbray wanting the attacking midfielder to show more of a goal threat if he’s to win a more regular starting spot.

“I told the lads at half-time that we had to improve in the second-half, but we looked like we could score on the break as they were playing the game in our half more than we would have liked, and I wanted us to be a bit more positive in the second-half,” the boss told the club website.

“I had it in my mind that I wanted to bring Danny (Graham) on, after an hour and play forward more and I was really proud of the way the lads kept going after having multiple shots blocked and penalty appeals turned down and their ‘keeper kept making great saves before they then went down the other end and scored, which deflated us a bit.

“Joe Rothwell came on and did well. I’ve been telling him that if he doesn’t have a shot, put in a cross in that we score from or create chances, then I can’t play him. (Lewis) Holtby grabbed a goal and an assist against Huddersfield Town in our last home game, that’s why he was playing.

“I was delighted for Joe that he threatened the goal, he had a brilliant glancing header that their ‘keeper saved, and he was involved in a few of the shots and ricochets around their box late on, which was good to see.

“I’m pleased for all the players really and the fans as well, because it’s been a tough few weeks, so let’s see if we can have a good week of training and go to Elland Road and get something. I’ve been looking at the results after the game, and there’s been some strange results in our league, so who’s to say that, although it’s a tough place to go, that we can’t cause a strange result there next week against Leeds United?”

Mowbray was critical of goalkeeper Christian Walton’s role in Preston’s opening goal, but he responded with an excellent late save to preserve Rovers’ lead.

And the Rovers boss added: “The save from Christian at the death there was smashing for us all because had it got to 2-2, we would have all been deflated.

“To take another point, would have been deflating especially on the back of the draws against Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield Town here, because you can’t keep drawing games at home and expect to be up there in the league.

“You’ve got to win your home games because that’s where you get the majority of your points and you’re putting a lot of pressure on your away games if you’re only drawing at home.”