In the latest round of the club’s ‘Brains of Brockhall’ quiz, it pitted Joe Rankin-Costello against Jacob Davenport. The hardest question for Rankin-Costello likely came before it had even started.

Q: ‘State your name, age and position?’ A: ‘Joe Rankin-Costello, 21, right back (long pause) I think’.

The Academy graduate may be in the early throes of his professional career, but his versatility and adaptability have shown no bounds. Neither has the trust that Tony Mowbray has in him.

Only four players (Adam Armstrong, Ben Brereton, Lewis Holtby and Darragh Lenihan) have started more Championship games for Rovers this season than JRC. And that’s despite him missing two matches with a hamstring injury.

He’s so far played right back, left back, right wing, left wing, central midfield, having also had time in the No.10 role last season.

While that would give the impression he is in the team as Rovers’ man for all positions, and simply filling in until others get back, that just doesn’t sit right.

He’s in the side on merit, and the interesting conundrum will be as to where he fits in once the squad is showing the strength it has on paper.

His preferred role would be on the left wing, a position Brereton, as the only ever-present so far, appears to have made his own. It’s further back on that flank where he’s operating for now.

After the arrival of Barry Douglas, the full back areas should be one of strength for Rovers, allowing Mowbray to rotate given the hectic schedule, and the work placed on those players in the 4-3-3 system.

We’ve seen some evidence of that, with players picked by pitting their strengths against the attributes of the opposition, with Rankin-Costello getting the nod over Ryan Nyambe at right back for the big wins over Wycombe, Derby and Coventry, where he was often the furthest man forward, because of his increased attacking prowess.

He showed that too in the defeat to Reading, a fine assist for Armstrong’s second goal, but a difficult opening to that game showed the importance of a specialist in that position.

Mowbray hasn’t been afforded that rotation luxury as yet however, with many of the full back changes have been enforced.

It’s just over a year since Rovers lost Greg Cunningham to a season-ending injury, cutting short his loan spell from Cardiff after just eight Championship starts.

There have been a season’s worth of games since Cunningham went off at QPR, in which time Rovers have used seven different players at left back.

Amari’i Bell went on to start 19 matches in 2019/20, the most of any player at left back last season, but the 25-year-old didn’t feature in any of the post-lockdown matches.

His run of 11 consecutive starts between New Year’s Day and the final match before lockdown at Derby remains the longest number of consecutive starts for anyone in that position.

However, of the post-lockdown matches, of which there has now been 20, Rankin-Costello has started nine of them at left back.

At the start of two successive windows it has been a position Rovers have strengthened, and with Douglas to return from his period of self-isolation, Rovers will hope to have some stability on the left-side of their defence for the visit to Luton Town next weekend.

Mowbray has been pleased with the job Rankin-Costello has done, not least because it’s not his natural position.

He added: “Left full back is an area we tried to strengthen and create extra competition in, we’ll get on with it.

“Joe Rankin-Costello has done pretty well for us, he’s a fantastic kid with a great attitude, very athletic.

“Rankin-Costello is playing left back and doing amazingly well, but we have two left backs who are more than capable and bring us much better balance, and it’s a more natural delivery into the box, than Joe checking back onto his right foot and playing into the box.

“I don’t want to make that excuse, but with the way we started this season and the way we were playing, it really needed someone to deliver from that high, wide left position, and put balls in the box.

“We signed Barry because Amari’i, while he’s fast and strong and can run all day, he’s a different type of player for a different day in our mind.

“Whereas on a day where we’re playing really high up the pitch and getting in and around their box, we were looking for that left foot delivery to give the strikers a better opportunity to find the spaces.”