Tony Mowbray is prioritising fitness over development as he looks to ensure his key players remain fully-fit for the final 14 games.

Rovers will be without eight first-team players for the trip to Charlton Athletic tomorrow with Sam Gallagher the latest to join the injury list.

Mowbray has seen his attacking ranks decimated by injuries in recent weeks and wants to do all he can to ensure the casualty list doesn’t rise.

The likes of Ryan Nyambe, Darragh Lenihan, Tosin Adarabioyo, Lewis Travis, Stewart Downing and Adam Armstrong are likely the players Mowbray was referring to as ‘key players’, but he says the amount of training his players do is a fine balance given the way he’s looking for them to play.

He explained: “The whole feeling at the moment is how much do you wrap these key players up in cotton wool and how much do they need to train?

“I’m pushing fitness levels and trying to play on the front foot, pressing high up the pitch and having that ability to run and close down, it’s really difficult to keep demanding the players but keeping them fit and wrapping them up in cotton wool.

“If you don’t do any training then you’re not improving your fitness levels, strengthening to do the job. It’s a fine balance at this stage of the season and with the injuries.

“Training on Thursday was generally a light jog, no contact, for 40 minutes and then finish.

“It’s a fine balance between ticking them over for the next game and trying to have this philosophy of improvement and developing.

“At the moment the wrapping up in cotton wool is more important than us to try and improve and get better.”

Rovers moved to eighth, and three points off the play-offs with victory over Hull on Tuesday, but the results on Wednesday saw them drop a place and they travel to Charlton two wins shy of the top six.

Mowbray’s side finished 15th, with 60 points last season, and on 47 with 14 games to play, he hopes they can push towards his pre-season ambition of around 70.

He added: “We can only affect what we do and win our football matches which is what we managed to do Tuesday night.

“The next opportunity for more points is away at Charlton on Saturday.

“It’s hard to sit here and have an emotion about someone else’s result, my mindset has never been to wish ill on someone and for them to get beat.

“The results are what they are and we have to control our own destiny and we can only look after our own performance and points tally.

“I’ve said all along we’re trying to improve. We got 60 points last year and ideally this season we need to get more and move towards 70 if we can and see where it takes us.

“Who knows what the rest will do?

“We would hope to get more than one point a game, so let’s just play the games, that’s what I tell the team.

“Regardless of who we’re playing, the names on the back or the badge on the front, play the game and see where this season takes us.

“Our ambition is to try and get in the top six, we’re six points off with 14 games left, 42 points, let’s get as many as we can.

“We know some days it won’t go our way, others we might win a game that we don’t play particularly well in, another day a dodgy decision might cost us two points.

“We have to try and enjoy it if we can.”