“As I sit here, next week what’s the attacking line-up?” said Tony Mowbray as he was asked about yet another injury to a Rovers creative player.

Lewis Holtby limped out of the 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough, four days after losing Joe Rothwell to a hamstring injury that will sideline him for the busy fixture list in February.

Added to Corry Evans and Bradley Dack already out for the foreseeable future, that has likely left Mowbray without three, possibly four, players who would be in his first choice front six.

The form of Adam Armstrong has made him a certain starter, with six goals and five assists in his last 12 matches, and six goal involvements so far in 2020.

Rovers will need to keep Armstrong fit, and touch wood, his appearance record since joining the club has been excellent. He has featured in all 30 Championship matches this season, starting 26, and featured in all but two matches last season, more than any other player.

Armstrong has been the central striker of late, but what are the options available to Mowbray around him?



It’s been Armstrong up top and Gallagher wide for the last three Championship matches, and Gallagher has featured in 28 of the 30 matches so far. Rovers’ failure to add a winger before transfer deadline day means the 24-year-old could well continue to be stationed on the right flank.

The one possible alternative around that could be for Elliott Bennett to come in to the side and play in front of Ryan Nyambe, allowing Gallagher to partner Armstrong in attack.

The other option for a front two, should Mowbray see fit, would to bring in Danny Graham to play alongside Armstrong, as Rovers finished against Middlesbrough, and leave Gallagher out wide.

Graham would be a more physical outlet, but has been alienated of late since the injury to Bradley Dack, with just one start in nine since the loss of the top scorer, that coming in the 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield on December 29 when he opened the scoring.

You’d certainly fancy his chance in the air up against Dennis Odoi should Rovers be able to supply good balls in from the wide areas, while there would be the hope his knockdowns could work in a similar way they did for Dack during their excellent partnership.

But Mowbray has preferred mobility over physicality of late which could leave Graham sidelined again. 



‘Ben Brereton needs to step up’ said Mowbray as he continued his assessment of his attacking options. In a bid to get game minutes under his belt, and hopefully boost his confidence, Brereton was given a run-out for the Under-23s against Derby on Monday.

He played as the No.9, and certainly put himself out, and he came alive in the second half, working particularly well spinning in to the attacking right channel which is where his solo goal came from.

Tony Mowbray watched on from behind the goal, but assistant Mark Venus, was on the touchline for the second half, and with his encouragement in his ear, there looked to be a visible lift to the 20-year-old’s confidence.

Brereton has played just 165 minutes of Championship football this season, 25 of which came in the reverse fixture at Craven Cottage in August.

He could offer some versatility across the frontline, and should Mowbray opt to go the way of mobility, may get his chance.



He’s been the man for all occasions and positions, and Bennett got the nod to replace Holtby just before half-time at Middlesbrough.

Initially that brought about a formation switch, Bennett going to the right as Gallagher moved up front, but Rovers emerged for the second half with Bennett the most advanced of three central midfielders.

It would certainly lessen the goal threat should the 31-year-old take up that particular role, but he did do it with distinction last season when Brentford came to town.

The thinking would be that his energy and tenacity would be able to disrupt Fulham’s passing rhythm and keep Rovers on the front foot.

A spot on either wing could also offer Bennett a way back in to the side at a time when Rovers aren’t blessed with natural width. Either way, it's hard to see a way that Joe Rankin-Costello won't keep his place in the side after making his league debut last weekend.