Even up-against a much-changed side Tony Mowbray feels Rovers are coming up against a Newcastle United squad that is as strong as it’s been for a number of years.

Ryan Fraser is in line to make his debut against Rovers, and while Steve Bruce is promising wholesale changes, Mowbray says you only need to look at their bench at West Ham to illustrate their strength in depth.

New signings Callum Wilson and Jeff Hendrick were on the scoresheet at the London Stadium, but Joelinton, Miguel Almiron, Ryan Fraser and Matt Ritchie were all among the substitutes and expected to feature against Rovers in tonight’s Carabao Cup tie.

Rovers too will make changes, but not to the same extent, with their alterations expected to come in attack given the lack of defensive options currently available.

The sides met in the FA Cup in 2019, with a late penalty cancelling out Bradley Dack’s header to take it to an Ewood replay where the Magpies edged through 4-2 after extra-time.

Ahead of their second cup meeting in three years, Mowbray said: “I think this is the strongest Newcastle United squad I’ve seen in a long, long time with the new additions.

“Look at the depth of their depth, they had a £40m and a £20m attacker on their bench, Ritchie what a big player he was for them under Benitez, they had a very strong bench from what I could see, and it looks a very powerful Newcastle United side.

“To go to West Ham and win they’ll be full of confidence and belief going into this game.

“You can only imagine if fans were allowed in to the game how tough it would be. It’s still a tough fixture of course because they have Premier League footballers out there but without the fans hopefully it makes it more of a balance without 55,000 screaming them on.

“We’ll go there and enjoy it, it’s good for us to go to these Premier League stadiums and look to give a good account of ourselves and see where we are.

“I challenge the players to go and play against players who are where they want to be. Go and test yourself against these players.

“It’s a good challenge for us, is there an expectation level? Only from ourselves to go and let Newcastle know they’re playing against a really good side and they’re going to have to be at it because we’ll give them a good test.”

Joe Rothwell and Tyrhys Dolan will be hoping their cameos off the bench at Bournemouth will be enough to earn them a start, with Harry Chapman also aiming for involvement in the squad after missing out at the weekend.

Corry Evans is expected to make his first start of the season with Mowbray having one eye on the weekend visit of Wycombe Wanderers when it comes to naming his side, which could see Adam Armstrong among the substitutes against his former club.