Rich Sharpe picks out three talking points ahead of Rovers' trip to Leeds United. 


The second half collapse at Preston North End means Rovers have now lost each of their three away games since the 2-1 win at Reading on September 1.

That takes their away record to two wins and five defeats from their seven matches on the road this season.

Their 14 goals conceded in those fixtures is the most by any team to have played seven away matches.

While Rovers have failed to score in two away matches, they have scored twice on four separate occasions, with their goals against column the main concern, as it was last season when they shipped 48 in their 23 games on the road.

They face a Leeds side who have lost just once in front of their own fans, but goals at both ends have been in short supply at Elland Road – only Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium had seen fewer goals before Saturday’s 2-0 success over QPR.

While Leeds’ home games have brought just 10 goals, Rovers’ away matches have produced 23.

Although Marcelo Bielsa’s side have now scored seven home goals, with only Middlesbrough managing fewer, only Sheffield Wednesday can emulate a defensive record that has seen them concede just three times.

You feel something will have to give.



Rovers have twice won back-to-back games this season, and will be aiming for a third when they head to Elland Road to face a Leeds side only being denied top spot by goal difference.

Consistency hasn’t been Rovers’ strongest suit, struggling to put two halves, never mind two matches, together, but if snatching three points from the jaws of defeat with goals in the 88th minute and injury time doesn’t give you increased confidence and belief, then what will?

But those part of the team that travelled to Leeds on Boxing Day will have mental scars to erase.

Even Rovers’ late show against the Owls couldn’t quite emulate that of this fixture last season where Kemar Roofe scored in the 91st, and 94th, minutes to snatch the points, just when Charlie Mulgrew’s free kick in the dying seconds of normal time looked to have won it for the visitors.

The noise inside Elland Road as Roofe planted a header in to the bottom corner was deafening. And you feel a good start will be vital for Rovers this weekend, not just to give themselves confidence, but subdue what will be an expectant home crowd in West Yorkshire.

Rovers too will have to break their trend of disappointing results heading in to an international break.

They have lost three and drawn one of their last four matches ahead of the two-week hiatus, with defeats at West Brom and QPR before the September and October breaks.



While it was only one change in personnel in the Rovers defence, it was a case of musical chairs in terms of positions against Sheffield Wednesday. Elliott Bennett took up his usual spot at right back, having been moved in to central midfield against Preston, and in turn, made the rest of the back four move along one spot.

Ryan Nyambe went from right back to right sided centre half, Tosin Adarabioyo from the right to the left central defensive berth, and Derrick Williams to left back.

Nyambe is unlikely to be a long-term solution in that position, but does offer Rovers greater mobility at their heart of the defence.

While Rovers have struggled against the more direct approach during Darragh Lenihan’s absence, an aerial bombardment won’t be on the cards at Elland Road.

Instead, they will need focus and concentration against Bielsa’s approach of free-flowing football and the movement in attack.

Having been picked off on the counter-attack too easily at QPR last month, Rovers will need to guard against that particular threat even more.

Could we see Bennett move back in to midfield, and the same back four against Preston? It would seem unlikely that Stewart Downing will continue in that particular away at Leeds, which could offer up a chance for Bradley Johnson against his former side, or Corry Evans, who has started three of Rovers' last four away games, should the versatile Bennett stay in defence.