Rovers could cover the loss of key attacking midfielders with a formation change, but Tony Mowbray says time could work against them.

Mowbray admits his options to continue playing the 4-2-3-1 formation he has almost exclusively used since taking charge are diminishing after Joe Rankin-Costello joined Lewis Holtby, Bradley Dack, Joe Rothwell and Corry Evans on the sidelines.

It leaves Rovers depleted in the attacking midfield areas, which could open up the possibility of moving to a back three, with Derrick Williams in line for a possible recall, while Elliott Bennett also offers the manager versatility should he want to swap systems.

But with Rovers back in action just three days after the home loss to Fulham, where injury to Holtby saw Bradley Johnson brought in to the side, Mowbray says having just one full training day makes it difficult to do the necessary work to fully implement a new formation.

“I sat in my office looking at my board for an hour trying to fathom the best balance to play this game without the players we’ve talked about that aren’t available,” Mowbray explained.

“It becomes more difficult to pick a team in the formation you might want to play.  All of a sudden you start tinkering with formations but then you don’t have the time to do the work on the training ground.

“They put a lot of work in to the game at the weekend so if you go and spend too long out there then there’s potential for injury because you’re asking them to go and play at match intensity on a Tuesday night.

“The difficulty is to do the work on the grass, with a change of formation potentially, that’s really dangerous.

“You have to trust in the work you’ve done and see if we can find a team to put in a positive performance and hopefully get the points.”

Rovers have gone with a back three once this season, the 2-0 home win over Millwall in September, and have also gone with two strikers in a 4-4-2 system and 4-3-3 for the New Year’s Day defeat at Nottingham Forest.

John Buckley should come back in to the matchday 18, and is an option should Mowbray stick with to 4-2-3-1.

He added: “Footballers want to know your expectations of them, ‘what’s my job in and out of possession?’

“You have to give them their jobs and if you haven’t nailed down the fine details of what to do when the ball is a certain position then they’re not excuse for players, but their might be for why we lost a goal, because they weren’t sure whether to press the ball or sit off because we hadn’t done the work.

“Ideally you want to get to a situation where everyone knows their job. If you’re in the opposition team on match preparation day then you should know the job.”