It was Joe Rankin-Costello, and not Ryan Nyambe, at right back for Rovers for the fourth time this season.

Rankin-Costello started the big wins over Wycombe, Derby and Coventry at full back having begun the season in one of the wide attacking roles.

The 21-year-old has proven himself to be an impressive and versatile figure, one that Mowbray has looked to get in the side wherever possible, demonstrating his quality against Coventry with a fine cross-field pass which led to the penalty, and red card.

However, the 90 minutes against Reading highlighted the conundrum that Mowbray will have when it comes to naming his right back.

Rankin-Costello was caught out of position for Reading’s second goal, while Omar Richards skipped past him in the lead up to the third, in what was a difficult opening quarter for the youngster.

Nyambe’s one-v-one defending is by far the stronger, though Rankin-Costello does have more of an attacking instinct given his more favoured position would be further up the pitch.

The Rovers full back’s did receive plenty of space, up against a narrow Reading midfield, but it wasn’t until the second half where they began to exploit it, as Barry Douglas put in one fantastic cross that Armstrong narrowly failed to turn home.

He did get his second of the game to bring the score back to 3-2, a fine run across the near post and neat header finding the corner courtesy of a tremendous Rankin-Costello delivery.

Nyambe had been primed to come on in the second half, receiving lengthy instructions, only for that to be changed as Sam Gallagher was sent on.

When asked whether Nyambe’s defensive strength would have been a better option, Mowbray told the Lancashire Telegraph: “That’s football, risk and reward.

“We were playing at home against a team that I felt if we defended properly it was a great opportunity to put down a marker of how strong we’re going to be.

“It didn’t function, their quality at the front end of the pitch, which hasn’t been their main strength, they haven’t been scoring lots of goals, there were nerves for some reason, maybe because of the physicality of Meite and Joao.

“If you look at how they’ve been functioning, I know they got three at the weekend, but generally it’s been 1-0.

“You can see the way we’re playing. I thought there would be goals if they came to play, there were goals, not the right balance for us, but congratulate them, they took their opportunities when they came and they have some good players at the top end of the pitch.

“Defensively we were poor, there’s no disguising it, we can’t come away with any credit for our defensive display.”