Rovers find themselves within striking distance of the top six once again after an all-round excellent away display at Charlton Athletic. Their next step? Break the metaphoric glass ceiling and force their way in to the play-off spots.

Tony Mowbray’s side have proven to be more than competitive at this level since winning promotion from League One in 2018 and reaching the 50-point mark almost two months, and eight games, earlier than last season is testament to the strides they have made.

So too is the fact this was an 11th clean sheet of the season, just one shy of last season’s tally, while a sixth away win equalled that of 2018/19.

Rovers moved to eighth after their win at Hull City but were down to 10th after the midweek fixtures were completed and the gap to the play-offs back to six points. But they are now within three, with 13 games to play, and very much in the mix.

And just to be in this position is deserving of praise. When Rovers moved to one point outside the play-offs in December, making it five wins in six matches after an equally impressive away display at Bristol City, they did so with a fully fit squad.

Fast forward two months and Rovers are now without four of the squad from that day, while a fifth, Bradley Dack missed the Ashton Gate win through suspension.

They were without nine first-team players in all at The Valley yet still managed to turn in a 14th win of a season that still looks to have plenty of life left in it.

But Rovers have been here before. After the Bristol City win, they went on to take just three points from their next five matches.

Last January, after a 3-0 win over Hull City, they were again eighth and three points off the play-offs, but would win just one of their next 11 matches to slip in to mid-table.

The challenge now, albeit a difficult one given their rate at which the injury list is growing, is to take that next step in to the top six, something they haven’t done since the fifth game of last season.

Rovers’ goal difference is a healthy plus 10, helped by an ever-improving backline which has benefited from a consistency of selection, something Mowbray wasn’t afforded last season.

In attack there was another new look, Dominic Samuel getting the nod to lead the line in a first start since August 2018, while John Buckley played in behind him after earning a recall.

In testing conditions, and with a sold-out home crowd to contend with, Rovers were on the back foot early on, with Christian Walton, again impressive between the sticks, saving well from Lyle Taylor and Tomer Hemed.

But with Ryan Nyambe a driving force down the right, and pace in attack to trouble the Charlton backline, Rovers began to take charge.

They should have had a penalty in the 18th minute as Jason Pearce was caught under the ball before pulling down Samuel, only for the decision to somehow go against the Rovers striker.

The control Rovers had ascertained manifested in to a one goal lead just before the half hour, as Buckley danced inside a couple of challenges before his shot took a deflection en route to nestling in the back of the net.

Nine minutes later it was two, Stewart Downing delivering from a free kick, that had been contentiously awarded, from which Tosin Adarabioyo guided in to the corner with his left leg.

The second half, where the hosts kicked towards the end which housed their main bank of fans, would always require Rovers to be at their best defensively.

Taylor struck two free kicks, one saved by Walton and the other flashing over, while the Rovers ‘keeper was equal to a curling Josh Cullen strike with an excellent fingertip stop.

Rovers however, look a side confident of seeing games out from winning positions now, backing their defensive structure and organisation to see them through.

They wound the clock down to great effect in the closing stages, and while not showing much as an attacking force in the second period, the hard work had already been done.

Rovers can do no more than keep their season alive. To be in a position to challenge given the fact that four, possible five, players who could have started at The Valley were unavailable, is testament to the group.

If they can come out of Griffin Park with a positive result heading in to back-to-back home games with Stoke and Swansea, who knows where they may end up? But there’s life left in this season yet.