Mark Robins pointed to the changes Rovers were able to make at full back as a sign of their strength in depth, areas of the pitch where they have faced issues in the last two seasons.

Fitness issues have hampered Tony Mowbray’s ability to name first choices in those positions since promotion back to the Championship, and while injuries have had a part to play, all the suggestions are it will be an area he will look to rotate his options.

The deadline day signing of Barry Douglas, and the emergence of Joe Rankin-Costello, could well afford him that luxury, which will be requried given the condensed nature of the Championship schedule, and the demands placed on the full backs in the 4-3-3 system.

At right back, across the nine matches in all competitions, we’ve seen Joe Rankin-Costello start four times and Ryan Nyambe, five.

Nyambe impressed on the opening day at Bournemouth but found himself out of the side the following week against Wycombe, with Mowbray preferring the more technical Rankin-Costello who then kept his place for the Derby rout, only to lose his place because of injury.

The Namibian linked up well with Harvey Elliott in the defeat at Watford, but then found himself out of the side again, with Rankin-Costello brought back after missing three successive matches with a hamstring issue.

He had a key role in the game-changing moment as his cross-field pass put Brereton in the clear, and he’s now started all three of Rovers’ Championship wins this season.

It could well be horses for courses as the season goes on, with Nyambe undoubtedly one of the best one-v-one defenders in the division, and while Rankin-Costello isn’t a natural right back, his attacking instincts make for an interesting option in that position.

His body has struggled with the intensity of matches since breaking into the side, something Nyambe has suffered with in the past, missing eight matches last season through injury, and 10 the season before, and 14 when Rovers were promoted from League One.

So having the pair competing against each other is something Mowbray will be keen to encourage.

On the opposite flank, things have been even more troublesome for Rovers in 2020. Amari’i Bell missed eight of the nine matches in Project Restart, with Rankin-Costello and Elliott Bennett among those forced to fill in.

Greg Cunningham was signed on loan with a view to becoming a regular in the side last summer, only to suffer a season ending injury in October, with Stewart Downing also filling in as Bell started just 19 times, having been in the starting line-up on 35 occasions in 2018/19.

He was the man in possession of the shirt, playing every minute of Rovers’ first eight matches before the Leeds United loanee was handed his debut at St Andrew’s.

Bell replaced him in the second half to continue his record of appearing in every game this season, and will certainly have his eye on winning back his place in the side.

While Douglas came in for his debut and Rankin-Costello returned at right back, there was also a recall for Derrick Williams in place of the injured Daniel Ayala and a first start for deadline day signing Tom Trybull, as Mowbray was able to make four changes.

“I’ve said to Amari’i Bell and Ryan Nyambe that they have real competition for their places now and I think it’s important every position has competition,” he said.

“I think at this club when we get Travis back, we get Dack back, I think the forward areas of our team there will be some real competition.

“That’s what top teams, who have an ambition to get out of this league, have to have, replace high quality players who might be off it with other high quality players who might be sitting on the bench and bursting to come on and show what they’re made of.”

Douglas, twice a winner of the Championship with Leeds and Wolves, was an unused sub in the defeat at Watford, a club that had been keen to sign him before Rovers won the race.

His start at Coventry was just his third in the league in just shy of 12 months having struggled for opportunities at Elland Road.

Reflecting on his performance, Mowbray said: “Barry’s quality was there to be seen.

“He’s actually really good around the group, around the dressing room and with his left-foot he’ll just keep spinning balls down the side for our strikers to run onto.

“His positive winning mentality is good around the group, which he has coming from Leeds United where their demands are only to win games and he’s been a good voice in our dressing room.”