And that was the 2019/20 season – albeit an extended one which spanned almost 12 months – with Rovers’ 63 points enough for an 11th-placed finish.

The games are ticked off, the nine since the re-start not the grand finale that fans would have hoped for, the momentum and excitement given the position at 5pm after the Bristol City win on June 20 was sapped away long before the final whistle at Luton Town.

Rovers have once again fallen away, and fallen short, in a season that had so much promise. Neither the points tally, or position, are quite the level of improvement anticipated, or suggested, for much of the campaign.

Tony Mowbray feels Rovers are in a transition period, and to some extent that is true, the players who were stalwarts of the League One promotion campaign have been fazed out to varying degrees.

But Rovers too must keep pace with the ambitions and improvements of their key men. While Mowbray and the fans won’t want to meander around in mid-table, nor will the likes of Adam Armstrong, who made it 17 for the season at Luton, and Bradley Dack, whose return is eagerly awaited.

The same will go for Ryan Nyambe and Lewis Travis whose progression continues to be rapid.

Rovers can’t afford for the transition Mowbray talks of to be another season of modest improvement, if things aren’t to become too comfortable and those aforementioned players to move beyond them.

The club as a whole needs to push and stretch itself, strive for the Premier League, not simply suggest that it is possible, albeit how difficult that will be in the current financial climate.

That too will of course bring added scrutiny and pressure, of which they have wilted under in the past, and it was interesting to hear the manager stress again how they need to toughen up mentality.

Of the teams who finished in the bottom seven, Rovers took 15 points from those 14 matches. Luton did the double over them, while they took just one point out of a possible six against Huddersfield, Birmingham and Wigan. Hull were the only team of the bottom seven they didn't lose to. 

‘With all due respect we should be beating teams like….’ is a phrase we’ve heard too often this season. It’s another area that must be addressed, often undoing the good work and stunting any momentum built up.

A more sustained play-off push felt well within the grasp of this group whose inconsistencies, be it individually or collectively, must be ironed out.

Getting more out of the options at his disposal is another message the manager has portrayed in recent weeks, and while there will need to be several changes in the backline, with two new goalkeepers, a central defender and left back among the players that need to be recruited, in attack, Rovers are yet to strike the right balance, despite the mass of options.

In the most hypothetical of scenarios, in which Rovers had reached the play-off final, and star man Dack been fit, just what team would Mowbray have picked?

All 46 games have been completed, but you’d be hard pressed to find many fans agree on what is either Mowbray’s preferred, or best, 11. You could even argue the formation would be up for debate.

Mowbray believes that is the way it must be for Rovers to compete at the top end of this league, but more important than systems and styles of play is how easy, at times, they can be to play against.

Luton managed to score three goals, meaning Rovers have now shipped 23 in 11 matches since their last clean sheet, despite having just one shot on target. That came from the penalty spot.

Yes that is a freak set of circumstances, and the goals conceded were unfortunate, but it is part of a pattern where the opposition haven’t had to work too hard to score against them.

Reading were poor for large parts, but still managed three goals. In a league of tight matches and fine margins, proved week in, week out, which team makes the fewest mistakes can often be the difference between three points, and none.

At the other end the contrast is stark, Rovers enjoying huge amounts of possession for the majority of matches since the re-start, but when met with a wall of defenders as they were at Luton and Millwall in their last two games, they struggled to find the answers.

Indeed, it was a long diagonal from Darragh Lenihan, headed down by Danny Graham and neatly finished off by Sam Gallagher that reduced the arrears in the final quarter. In their hour of need, it was once again Graham who they turned to off the bench, with booming balls in his direction the preferred method of choice in their quest for an equaliser.

Just seven weeks are likely to stand between Rovers and the new season, the number of departures could reach double figures, including loans expiring and out of contract players, and while the same figure are unlikely to arrive given numbers will be supplemented some Academy prospects, it’s a busy, not just important, summer ahead.

It is easy to separate these final nine games, given the time that passed between fixture numbers 37 and 38, and post lockdown Rovers haven’t reached the levels they are capable of, and had during that brilliant run in November and early December.

There have been moments and performances to savour. We just need more, and more consistently.