Tony Mowbray felt the summer signings would be sufficient to plug the holes in the Rovers defence but admits “nothing has changed”.

Mowbray brought in Tosin Adarabioyo and Greg Cunningham on loan but Rovers have been dogged by injuries and inconsistency at the back that has seen them concede 24 goals in 18 games.

They shipped 69 last season, prompting Mowbray to make moves for two Premier League players on loan, as well as allowing captain Charlie Mulgrew and goalkeeper David Raya to depart.

Darragh Lenihan is expected to return against Barnsley today, but has missed five matches through injury, the same number as Manchester City youngster Adarabioyo, while Derrick Williams has now added his name to the injury list that includes Cunningham who won’t play again this season.

Rovers have already named eight different defensive combinations and will be forced in to another today with Williams ruled out.

He said: “I felt the additions of Cunningham and Adarabioyo would resolve the issue yet it still hasn’t found a consistency.

“Adarabioyo got injured after the Fulham game, Lenihan got injured at QPR and now Williams has got injured.

“They feel like excuses but I don’t want to sit here and make excuses. The goals we’ve conceded already are way, way too many. It’s the same scenario as last season, nothing has changed. I can see that.

“Yet there hasn’t been a consistency of selection because they haven’t been fit. The run we had at the start of the season, four clean sheets in six with Lenihan and Williams playing alongside each other.

“Football, you have to deal with what’s in front of you. Williams is injured and now Lenihan needs to try and stay fit if he can and hope Adarabioyo can grow on the potential he’s shown.

“I’m not sure how he’s perceived but in my eyes he has all the attributes to be a top player. I think he has a big future in front of him.”

Injury problems at the back blighted Rovers’ second half of the season, and there has been no shortage of disruption in this campaign, with Lenihan, Williams and Adarabioyo having only been fit at the same time on four occasions.

Cunningham’s absence has proved a big blow, with Mowbray already stating that left back will be a position the club will target in the January transfer window.

Rovers allowed Scott Wharton and Tyler Magloire to leave on loan, though the latter has been hampered by injury himself, cutting short his time with League One Rochdale.

“Defensively it has been too inconsistent. Mainly because of Adarabioyo, then Lenihan, then Williams, all getting injured,” Mowbray added.

“We let the young players go out on loan because we’d kept four clean sheets in six, things were going really well and at that time the window was going to shut and those decisions were made.

“We’ve suffered, too many goals against. That’s evident. We’ll see whether Lenihan’s return will help our team being more solid, keeping clean sheets and giving the team a better chance of getting better results.”

With Lenihan and Williams at the heart of the defence, Rovers kept four clean sheets in six matches earlier in the season, but they now haven’t had one since the victory over Millwall on September 21.

Mowbray had stated that defenders were high on his priority list in the transfer market but Adarabioyo was the sole central defensive arrival. He will likely partner Lenihan for the first time this season against Barnsley, with Mowbray now hoping for some consistency in selection.

“When I sign players I try and commit to footballers and if I’m signing them to come and play, I sit them in my office, tell them my plans, how they will function in the team and in hindsight, should I have just signed players and stacked them up in the background?,” he explained.

“But in certain positions you want solidity, you want consistency, you want to play the same centre halves for 46 games a season if you can. Partnerships are important.

“We haven’t had great consistency. Last year, whether it was Charlie getting injured at the end, or Darragh getting injured.

“It’s easy to say in hindsight bring in as many players as you can and not worry about them sitting on the bench and not make the team. That’s not my concern, that’s theirs. But centre halves, because of the consistency level, I did talk at the end of the season about the defence.

“I felt as if we did address the defence. We changed the left back, brought Cunningham in, we brought Adarabioyo who has the potential to be a really top player. There’s no need to go and buy another three centre halves and have them sitting on the bench thinking ‘why did they sign me?’”