Tony Mowbray has called on his central defenders to rise to the challenge of facing the imposing figure of Aleksandar Mitrovic.

The Fulham striker has 27 goals in 32 appearances for club and country this season, including one in the reverse fixture at Craven Cottage.

Darragh Lenihan was unavailable that day, while Tosin Adarabioyo made his debut, and Mowbray has backed his pairing to find the answers to deal with the 25-year-old Serbian.

The two have developed a good understanding in their 14 matches when paired together in the heart of the Rovers defence, but they will be severely tested by Mitrovic who returned from injury to score in Fulham’s win over Huddersfield last time out.

“I think both physically and just his cleverness of where to run as a striker,” Mowbray said of Mitrovic’s threat.

“He knows where he needs to be when the ball is coming in to the box.

“Mitrovic stands between the sticks, the ball comes in and he scores. He’s got the physical quality, he wins headers, can hold people off, he brings team-mates in.

“He’s just a good player in our league. I thought our defenders did pretty well against him earlier in the season, Darragh was injured and Derrick played, Tosin played well that day, but Mitrovic did score the second goal.

“They should look forward to it. I know when I played I looked forward to play against the biggest players with the biggest reputations to test yourself and that’s what our defenders need to do. They have to go and show what good players they are and try and snuff out their main threat.”

Scott Parker’s side have taken 10 points from the last 12 available to move third in the table, three points off the automatic promotion spots. And Mowbray can see an identity similar to the one which saw them promoted via the Championship play-offs two seasons ago.

“I think that would be their expectation, they came out of the Premier League and while Scotty is a young manager finding his feet, he’s doing extremely well,” he explained.

“You watch how calm he is around the job, he’s a good fit for them.

“They do have some good footballers, some high salaried players, we know Fulham’s story of spending £120m after promotion and for whatever reason it didn’t work out.

“It’s not always easy coming down and re-stabilising a club that has to lose some big-hitters but they have a pattern and way of playing, they are very much like the Fulham team that got promotion.

“Their team is looking more recognisable.

“They have good options, good players, and a manager with an idea and philosophy of how he wants to play.

“They’re starting to come right at the right time.”