Rovers reporter Rich Sharpe picks out four talking points from the win over Sheffield Wednesday.


Whatever the thoughts on Sam Gallagher playing on the wing, Adam Armstrong is deserving of his place leading the line for Rovers.

In his last 10 matches, eight starts and two substitute outings, Armstrong has scored five goals and contributed four assists.

Armstrong didn’t score at Hillsborough, but he was mightily effective in leading the line. What he does do is stretch teams, defenders wary of his pace in behind which helped create space for Lewis Holtby to operate in.

We’ve become used to seeing Armstrong coming in from the left, but it was drifting out to the flank from a central position that played a key role in creating Holtby’s goals.

The 22-year-old is in a hot streak of form, but he’s adding consistent end product to his game. One thing Armstrong has never been shy of is getting shots of, with four in total at the weekend.

He almost grabbed what would have been a deserved goal late on when played in by Joe Rankin-Costello, with Cameron Dawson saving well with his feet.



There was a real control and dominance to the way Rovers played, even when they came up against 10 men. They were well on top, and already a goal up, by the time the red card came.

What they did so well was take the sting out of the game, didn’t allow the home crowd, who felt a great sense of injustice at the red card, get involved in the game as they did at Swansea last month.

That made the timing of the second goal so crucial, Rovers timing it to perfection just as Wednesday were about to make a change.

Rovers won on the road for the fifth time this season, just one shy of last season’s tally, and are up to nine clean sheets.

They didn’t look in any danger throughout the 90 minutes, keeping Wednesday at arms length, and making a side who started the day sixth in the league look pretty ordinary.



There could be few better opportunities to be handed your league debut than when your team is four goals and a man to the good, as just before the hour, Joe Rankin-Costello was sent on.

He replaced Joe Rothwell in his most favoured role, wide left, having been preferred on the bench to Harry Chapman.

Chapman made three consecutive substitute appearances over the festive period, at a time when Rankin-Costello was injured.

And it was interesting that the 20-year-old was preferred to both him and John Buckley.

He proved why, with an excellent cameo, creating the fifth goal for Sam Gallagher with a pass not too dissimilar to one that set up a chance for Adam Armstrong.

Back fit and ready to make an impact on the first team stage, it won’t be long before more opportunities follow for a player who’s long been touted for a big future.

Physically he looks ready, and technically, there are no question marks. He’ll need time and patience, but having been the star man for the Under-23s for some time, he’s deserving of his chance.



Rovers’ five goal haul means they have now scored 40 goals this season, three more than at the same stage last year. A ninth clean sheet, three short of last season’s overall tally, means they have conceded six fewer.

The 40 points they have amassed from 28 games is the same as this point of last season, and while they sit one place lower in 11th, the five point gap to the play-off spots is one fewer than last season.

This is also the highest points tally at this stage of any Championship season since relegation from the Premier League.

Rovers look well set, with 18 games remaining, to beat last season’s tally of 60. That will be the first objective, then it will to head  towards 70, a figure mentioned by Tony Mowbray at the start of the campaign.