Tony Mowbray admits his hand has been forced a little with Stewart Downing given the midfielder’s performances and the midfield area being decimated by injury.

The manager has regularly stressed he doesn’t feel Downing, substituted in the latter stages of the midweek win over Hull City, should be playing three games in a week.

Yet the 35-year-old has proved to be the pick of the summer signings and has featured in all but three Championship matches this season.

Only Adam Armstrong and Lewis Travis, of Rovers’ outfield players, have started more games than Downing’s 27 this term, and he has played at least 80 minutes in 14 of Rovers’ last 16 matches.

His versatility has proved key, first filling in at left back following the injury to Greg Cunningham before Corry Evans’ absence opened up the door in central midfield.

He has been back on the wing with Joe Rothwell out with a hamstring problem, and Mowbray admits a shortage of options means Downing will start at The Valley tomorrow afternoon. Not that the former England international would have it any other way.

Mowbray explained: “My mindset initially is that he shouldn't be playing three games a week at 35, and yet when you watch him train, Stewart really doesn't want to miss any training sessions, never mind miss games.

“He looks at you as if you're a bit strange when you say well, why don't you miss the Tuesday and play Saturday or can we play Tuesday and miss Saturday? Can you get two games in three days? He looks at you as if you're a bit daft sometimes.

“And then when you watch him play he just keeps running up and down and keeps getting on the ball. Then he's ready to go again two days later so at this moment Stewart isn't a big concern for us.”

Rovers are keen to manage their players’ workloads during a busy period of games in February, and with eight first-team players currently out injured.

That will see Downing sit out some of the sessions in order for him to be in the best possible condition come matchday.

Mowbray has previously described Downing as a ‘freak’ given his desire to play every game and be involved in training every day, with the midfielder keen to make the most of the twilight years of his career. And for now he looks set to get his wish.

“We manage training loads of course, the best we can, and there's no need for him to do 11km on Tuesday night and then come out on a Thursday and do another four,” Mowbray added.

“He's generally looked after through the week, and we roll him out and play again and hopefully he finds the quality and brings the quality that he does to the team on matchdays.

“That's okay until the day that he gets injured with a muscle injury because that's overload and sometimes players who want to play, sometimes you have to take that decision out of their hands of course.

“At this moment, we're not awash with options to replace Stewart Downing and give him a breather.

“So there's a fair chance he will be out there on Saturday.”

It will be a packed house at The Valley, with Charlton having sold-out of tickets in the home end with tickets reduced to £5, while Rovers fans have also taken up the offer, with more than 2,000 making the trip.

On what he wants to see from his team, Mowbray added: We have to go and impose ourselves on the game and show them our quality and make them feel how good our players can be on any given day, against a background of a passionate stadium with a team looking to impress a big crowd.

“They're fighting for their lives for points as well. They will need points otherwise they will be looking over their shoulder.

“I'm not sure why this game was picked for the big crowd and their deal, maybe they thought it was a game they could win, but we must go there as Blackburn Rovers and show them that they're playing against a really good side.”