Elliott Bennett may have been left out of Rovers’ last two starting line-ups but has maintained a key figure in the dressing room, according to Tony Mowbray.

Bennett came off the bench and produced an assist for Sam Gallagher’s late winner at Stoke City as Rovers made it three wins in the space of seven days to move them up to 11th.

Darragh Lenihan has taken on the captain’s armband with 30-year-old Bennett dropping to the bench for the Brentford and Stoke City wins, the first time since April he hasn’t been included in a matchday XI.

But the manager says Bennett, who took over the armband after the departure of Charlie Mulgrew in August, has remained a leader in the dressing room, even when not leading the side.

“Elliott Bennett, I don’t know the statistics, but since I’ve been manager he’s played nearly every game Why? He’s not the world’s best footballer but because he has a personality that gels a team together, gels a dressing room, he lives his life by a set of values and they can rub off on other players,” Mowbray explained.

“However good a footballer he is, I’m in the dressing room before firing them up and he’s not playing but still geeing everyone up for a massive game.

“This is the sort of characters you need to have. Elliott Bennett drives this dressing room.

“Everyone knows he lives his life right, he’s a great guy and they react to him.

“That’s why he’s played a lot, because I believe you might have a team with not the best players but if you have a strong belief and camaraderie and togetherness then you can go a long way.”

Bennett had started 20 consecutive league games for Rovers, a run dating back to April, before being left out for the Brentford win, with Ryan Nyambe returning to the side at right back having missed out against Barnsley because of illness.

His assist for Gallagher's win was his fourth of the campaign, with no Rovers player having produced more than his eight since the start of last season. 

Rovers had come in for criticism during the international break having won just five of their opening 16 Championship matches and sitting 17th in the table.

However, they have responded with nine points from their last three matches to move in to the top half for the first time since September and will be eyeing a fourth consecutive win, and fourth in a row at Ewood, when they host Derby County on Saturday.

And Mowbray believes hard work and character has been key to their turnaround in fortunes.

The Rovers boss added: “A football pitch is an area that footballers have to cover, they don’t just stand in one area.

“You have to get the basic ingredients of hard work and graft and this team do that.”