Corry Evans has sustained a fracture to his skull, and ‘shattered’ eye socket, which will require surgery.

Evans was carried off on a stretcher, and wearing an oxygen mask, after being caught in the head during Rovers’ 1-1 draw with Preston North End last weekend.

Mowbray said the initial diagnosis was a possible broken nose and fractured cheekbone, and while those have proven to be correct, scans have also shown the 29-year-old suffered a fracture to his skull and eye socket.

It is a desperate blow for the Rovers midfielder who is set for an extended period on the sidelines and will miss out on Northern Ireland’s upcoming Euro 2020 play-off matches.

Evans had overcome a knee problem to feature against North End in what was his 200th match for Rovers, six-and-a-half years after arriving from Hull City.

“Not good news,” said Mowbray.

“He was in hospital for a few days, had several scans, and ultimately he’s got a fracture in his skull.

“His eye socket has been shattered and you could see when he came past me with the oxygen mask on, I don’t think he was unconscious, but it didn’t look good.

“The surgeons have been searching where the best place to do the operation is, and I think we’ve made the decision now.

“He’ll be having that pretty soon, and then after that I don’t think it’s right to put a timescale on it.

“He’s going to have a plate in his skull, his eye socket is fractured and it’s something we need to assess.

“The initial synopsis was we thought broken nose and cheekbone, but the x-ray and scans showed what it was, a frontal fracture to the skull.

“The eye socket has been shattered, that’s probably the best way of describing it.

“Our thoughts are with him. I’ve spoken with him, our medical department have been with him, and his family, his wife, and I’ve spoken to him as much as I can.

“He seemed in good spirits, as much as he could be.

“There’s a concern for him and as a club we’ll support him through his period.”

Mowbray wouldn't talk about when Evans might be able to return.

However, he did add: “In my mind, without saying Corry won’t play again this season, psychologically that injury, if you have had a plate put in your skull you aren’t coming back in a few weeks heading a football.

“It’s a really difficult one psychologically and that probably leaves us a bit light.”