Tony Mowbray feels his players have ‘stood up’ and demonstrated the togetherness within the squad to move within three points of the top six despite the growing number of injuries.

Mowbray will hope to ease the list of casualties by welcoming back Sam Gallagher and Joe Rankin-Costello to his squad for today’s game at Brentford (12.30pm) but will still be without five players who would be in contention to start at Griffin Park.

In their absence, several players who had been on the fringes have stepped up, with Dominic Samuel making a first start since the opening day of last season at Charlton, while John Buckley scored on his return to the side at The Valley.

But those who have been regulars throughout the season have assumed more responsibility to help keep Rovers’ top six hopes alive at a time when most felt their crippling injury list would see them slide out of contention.   

“They have all stood up when they've been asked to and I think they've tried to do the task that they've been asked to do,” Mowbray said.

“I don't think they've really surprised, I've always said the group is really tight. When you talk about groups of footballers, there's always ones that are on the periphery that potentially could feel hard done by, not played enough, not played as much as they want to play.

“They're left out of the squad and they don't make the 18, then all of a sudden I'm asking them to start games.

“We've all benefited over the last few weeks when we've been asked questions, especially with the loss of the striking players at the top end of the pitch. The likes of Samuel and Brereton have come in and done a very good job.

“John Buckley, who's a very young boy and Rankin-Costello has been pushed in there and they have all contributed.

“Hopefully that will be the case as we move forward and then when we get a few back. Gallagher, potentially, might be back, and we'll see how they react on what the selection is and how we do moving forward.”

Mowbray marks three years in charge of Rovers today at Brentford, a side whose recruitment model and development has been universally praised.

Their player trading policy has proved successful, and one Mowbray says Rovers could look to replicate, in a bid to become more self-sustainable.

He added: “Generally I like to feel I’m at a club that wants to grow. I like to sign and play young players, I like to play expansively, but you can’t always do that if you don’t have the players, you have to find a way.

“We can’t play like Brentford, because we don’t have the players Brentford have. You could argue Brentford are a bit further on than us, six years on from League One.

“I know they came up from a lower base, but I think their recruitment has been good, ours is two years in from where we had to grow our recruitment department and I think we have a little bit of catching up to do to get to that level.

“I think Brentford’s expectation is minimum top six, top two if they can and that’s through good recruitment, good coaching, understanding where they are, not trying to get there faster than they need to, grow their squad to sell, buy and reinvest and a self-sustainable model.

“If we can do that, rather than asking the owners to cover £20m losses every year, that’s got to be the way to do it. But how quickly do you want to get to the end goal of promotion to the Premier League. Or how quickly do you want to become self-sustainable and grow organically?

“I’m not saying we should use Brentford as an exact model because historically Blackburn Rovers is further down the line than Brentford, but if you stopped the bus now, they’re a good model of how to recruit, develop, shine them up, sell them on, reinvest and keep it going.

“The team keeps going and you cover the losses of the football by the recruitment and selling of your players, but the team never gets weaker because you have the next one ready bought underneath.”