Tony Mowbray believes the training camp in Portugal came at just the right time for Rovers as they head in to the final 18 games of the season.

And the boss has called on his fringe players to be ready to step up when their chance arrives in a busy period of games.

Rovers spent five days in Lagos last week ahead of tonight’s game with QPR who they were due to face on Saturday until Rangers progressed in the FA Cup.

That afforded Mowbray and his 24-man squad the chance to head overseas where they trained for three days in their new environment.

Tonight’s game is the first of eight before the end of next month and the first of three midweek matches which could play a key role in Rovers’ bid to keep their top six hopes alive.

“It was important we managed to get the work in to them that we needed to do,” Mowbray said.

“The balance this time of year is that you can’t go doing double sessions otherwise you end up over-loading them. If you’re doing 30,000 metres in a week before a game, you have to be careful you don’t knock that up by bigger numbers.

“There was extra tactical and technical work with the team, and it was good to do that in a different environment.

“It was good to have lots of video meetings, we went through the training sessions with the players.

“We could spend time with the defensive unit, midfield unit and striking unit, go through some training clips and some clips from recent games.

“We got them talking about football. Sometimes it’s difficult to get them in a team meeting when there’s 20-odd players to get them to say something. In small groups it’s much easier to get players to talk. It was beneficial and hopefully the benefits will be there to see on the pitch.”

It will be nine days since the 5-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday when Rovers take to the field, but Mowbray says his side should still be in buoyant mood as they look to get back to winning ways at Ewood after three successive draws.

“We have a lot of midweek games thrown in. We should look forward to it,” he added.

“As I’ve said to the group, even if they feel on the fringes or on the outside, not making the bench, you have to be ready, train, do the hard yards, because when you get called up there’s no excuse.

“Hopefully everyone has that message. We have to take some confidence from our last result and performance and take that in to Tuesday night.

“We have to try and find the right professional performance that can get us the right result.

“We’ve drawn three in a row at home and it would be good to get back to winning football matches at Ewood and hopefully that can start on Tuesday.”