Rovers still have two more matches to play in a season that will almost span 12 months but the inquest on what’s gone on has already begun.

Any hopes of taking their faint chances of a play-off spot to the final day are gone. The momentum brought about by the Bristol City win has long since evaporated.

Another mid-table finish beckons, and next season will be a ninth consecutive one outside the Premier League. This felt like a real opportunity to break in to the top six and harbour hopes of a possible return, and while not at the alarming level as last season, this one has petered out.

“I try and build football clubs and evolve them, evolution not revolution, and sometimes people get sick, supporters generally, of the same voice and same things. If you don’t win leagues you don’t really last because to finish mid-table won’t be enough for some people,” said Tony Mowbray in August as he embarked on his third full season in charge.

He is undoubtedly looking to evolve this side, in terms of both personnel and style, but whether it’s at the speed that some supporters would want, is up for debate. Mowbray said reaching last season’s tally of 60 points wasn’t a cause for satisfaction, and while their league position will improve, a top half finish almost guaranteed, their points won’t to the levels the manager would have wished.

Last summer, Rovers’ increased European scouting was the hot topic of debate. While plenty of hard work behind the scenes went in, targets identified and pursued, new faces failed to materialise. Fast forward 12 months and it’s now a sustained moved towards a more possession-based, control orientated style that Mowbray is looking to implement.

There has undoubtedly been a shift in approach since lockdown. But was this the right time to try and implement such a change, after three months out and just nine games remaining?

New rules brought in and a different feel surrounding fixtures, but still the same three points at stake. Yet at times it has felt like Rovers have been experimenting at just the moment they needed results.

Mowbray felt more control of the ball was key to ensuring that, and there had been a train of thought that the teams who enjoyed more of the ball would prosper in the behind closed doors matches.

However, that hasn’t necessarily played out, with Cardiff and Millwall, two of the sides battling it out for the famed sixth spot, in the bottom four for possession. Rovers have had more of the ball since the re-start, enjoying over 50 per cent in every game bar the Leeds defeat, but you’d be hard pushed to say they’ve looked more threatening over the piece.

Kings of the fast-starts for much of the season, they have been laboured out of the blocks, falling behind in eight consecutive matches and now without a clean sheet in 10.

Their thinking has appeared muddled at times. Watching the second half it felt the only way they were going to score was by a piece of individual brilliance, a mistake, or by putting together an inch-perfect move.

As Millwall got narrower and narrower in their defending, so did Rovers’ attacking play. Gallagher and Armstrong were at opposite ends of the attacking lines, and inbetween was a packed midfield and plenty of neat interplay, but so little cutting edge.

To his credit, Joe Rankin-Costello never stopped working, providing an outlet down the left, but few others really suggested they were busting a gut to get in to the final third and make something happen.

Flipcharts were used to explain the thinking at every possible opportunity, but it felt a little over-complicated, trying to be too cute against a Millwall backline which seemed happy to let Rovers almost pass themselves into submission. Some 540 passes later, and only twice was Bartosz Bialkowski in the Millwall goal forced in to action, both via the right boot of Armstrong.

The hosts managed just 195 accurate passes – but fired off more shots, and the double the amount on target. Possession is nine-tenths of the law, but end product is king.

Rovers find themselves having spent £11m on two attackers, and whatever happens with Danny Graham next season, at 35 he won’t be the long-term answer, and despite that outlay, they would ideally be in the market for a centre forward this summer.

With their season hanging in the balance, Ben Brereton went unused.

Yet there are other areas of the pitch with gaping holes. They didn’t source an upgrade on David Raya last summer, and will be without a first-choice goalkeeper after next week, while Tosin Adarabioyo’s promising loan spell also comes to an end, leaving them light at centre half.

Graham, along with Dominic Samuel and Stewart Downing have started each of the last three matches, but are all out of contract at midnight of the Luton game, and no nearer to knowing their future, nor Mowbray to his budget.

And while in midfield the options are plentiful, indeed Rovers ended the game with virtually ever creative midfielder that the club employs on the pitch, can they have the control, yet energy, to do both sides of the game that Mowbray is looking for?

He admitted getting the best out of what he’s got could be key this summer, but the homegrown players will certainly offer hope moving forward.

The manager says he knows the reasons behind Rovers’ chronic inconsistency, but whatever happens in terms of personnel, that is the one thing that must be overcome if they’re to have a sustained tilt at the top six.

They’re the division’s most unpredictable team, they can excite and frustrate in equal measure. They’re capable of so much, they’ve demonstrated that, but to turn in a performance such as this, a first half so lacking in vigour, at a time when it mattered most, left you scratching your head.

Fans may not be in stadiums, but their support is needed now more than ever. Rovers must give them something to get excited about over a sustained period, as another mid-table finish beckons.