Tony Mowbray says Rovers’ improved statistics with Darragh Lenihan in the team mean it is ‘not rocket science’ their form has picked up since his return.

Rovers have won just four of the 21 matches that Lenihan has missed since the start of last season, and his five-game absence after injuring his knee at QPR on October 4 saw them collect just four points.

His return has coincided with a three game winning run, the last two of which he has captained the side with Elliott Bennett dropped to the bench.

Mowbray hopes he can strike up a good understanding at the back with Manchester City loanee Tosin Adarabioyo, with fellow senior central defender Derrick Williams currently injured.

“Lenihan coming back fit, it’s not rocket science, the statistics are there that over a while that when Lenihan isn’t in the team it’s given us more of a problem,” Mowbray said.

“I think his character, his personality, he can bounce off other players and I think Tosin will benefit from having Lenihan’s voice alongside him and his organisational skills, as Derrick would from Lenihan next to him.

“The key is to keep them fit and it will give us a better chance to win games.

“The sooner Derrick is fit to give us possible rotation as the games come thick and fast we’ll see, but at this moment he’ll be unavailable.”

Rovers struggled against physical strikers without Lenihan in the team, and Mowbray says the Irishman’s ability to do the simple things well really stands out.

They kept a first clean sheet in 11 games in the win against Brentford, and were much improved at the back at Stoke City last weekend.

“You can’t ever do without the basics in football. Darragh has been those basics pretty well,” Mowbray added.

“It wasn’t happening in the weeks previous.

“Some teams never kick a ball over the halfway, some have never taken a short goal kick, every team is different.

“But when you’re playing against as team with a 6’4 centre forward and kick every ball to him, it’s nice if you can beat him in the air and head it back over the halfway line and don’t let them feel if that’s the route to beat you.”

Mowbray will be keen to keep Lenihan fit as much of the season as possible, given his influence, and believes his leadership qualities are just as important as his defensive ability.

“I think we all like Darragh. It’s his mentality, he plays on the front foot and goes and deals with problems,” said the boss.

“He attacks the ball in the air, he’s difficult to beat one on one, generally stays on his feet, and does the basics of being a centre half. He has a good voice and leadership qualities. That is all added together and a benefit for the team.”