Rovers boss Tony Mowbray knows his forward players will be judged on goals – but feels a new-look system can bring out the best in his big-money buys.

Ben Brereton and Sam Gallagher have started out wide in a 4-3-3 formation since the re-start but Rovers failed to fire in the defeat at Wigan as they fell to a 2-0 defeat.

Despite the unquestionable talent on show, the Rovers starting line-up had just 17 league goals between them, with top scorer Adam Armstrong only among the subs.

Mowbray could switch up his forward line at Barnsley tonight, as his side look to respond to the DW Stadium setback, but believes Brereton is starting to show signs of why Rovers spent £6m to sign him.

As for Gallagher, a £5m recruit from Southampton last summer, the manager feels he must become more selfish so to add to his four league goals.

“You’re asking the question because people will judge you on the amount of goals you’ve put in the back of the net at the end of every season,” Mowbray told the Lancashire Telegraph.

“And if it’s only five or six, they’re going to question everything about the deal, and about you.”

Brereton was making just a fifth league start of his Rovers career at the weekend, having missed much of the early part of the season through injury.

It’s the first time since signing in the summer of 2018 he has made three consecutive league starts, and despite finding the net just once in that time, Mowbray is seeing positive signs of development.

“I would have to say that Brereton hasn’t had an opportunity. In my eyes he’s started to look like the player I know he’s going to be, he’s more powerful on the training ground, he’s carrying a level of confidence with his body now.

“He’s always been talented, that’s why he’s at this football club, we signed him as a young guy and his time his is coming. People will start to see the reason he was signed.

“It’s easy to say that now, time needs to run by for Ben Brereton and people will see the outcome, positively or negatively.”

While Mowbray's switch to 4-3-3 has given Rovers a level of control of the ball, he wants to see that transpire in to more efforts at goal, despite acknowledging they came up against a solid Wigan backline at the weekend which has now gone six matches without conceding.

Gallagher, Rovers' sole cash buy last summer, has started 27 league matches, largely out wide, and scored four times.

Mowbray says the desire and attitude of the 24-year-old can't be questioned, but feels Gallagher needs to become more selfish in a quest to add to his tally in front of goal.

“Gallagher, you’d have to say that Sam he is a young guy that has grown up at Southampton, we’re trying to put him in goalscoring areas. No-one at this club will ever question at this club his work ethic, his desire, his power and his strength and his running ability," the manager added. 

“We have to get him in the areas of the pitch, to be more selfish. He works his socks off for this team, working up and down, fighting, chasing, giving everything he’s got every game.

“I keep saying that he’s a centre forward, that’s his job, that’s what he wants to do, then he has to play centre forward and be between the sticks and put the ball in the net.

“He has to give himself the chance to score more goals.

“In my mind, Sam has to be a bit more selfish.

“Because of his power, his size and his strength, he should be terrorising defences. He sacrifices himself for the team with how hard he works, but ultimately, be more selfish, get in those areas, score more goals, enjoy doing what strikers do.

“It should be in your belly to want to celebrate scoring, but never losing that workrate or desire.”

The pair’s role out wide has been a talking point among supporters, but Armstrong, operating from similar positions for much of the season, has chipped in with 12 goals.

He is the only player to hit double figures in the league, though Bradley Dack had nine before his season was cruelly ended in December.

But Mowbray doesn’t see the positions they’re operating in as a barrier to goals.

“I don’t see why not, why can’t they? If the ball is going down the other side, where else are you going if you’re the wide striker?,” he explained.

“Players have to get in the box. I’m trying to give the team a level of control with the positional play we’ve got.

“We scored three in our first game, we didn’t score in a game against a team who haven’t conceded six games on the bounce and making life difficult for every team to score.

“Let’s judge it after the games, how many goals we’ve scored, how things have worked.

“Football is a jigsaw, the best teams, everything clicks in to place. You score goals, win matches, week in week out and when you don’t win a game, it’s your job to ask questions, but weren’t talking about not scoring goals the week before when we scored three.

“A centre half scored one of them but that’s his job as well, so let’s keep going.

“I believe the team will find a way to win football matches and let’s see where it takes us this season.

“The bigger picture for me has always been to grow this team and before a ball is kicked, believe we’re going to be really successful in the league we’re in.”