Rovers will face disruption to their defensive line once again with Tony Mowbray ruling out three players.

Ryan Nyambe picked up a thigh issue while away with Namibia during the international break and isn’t expected to feature at Luton Town.

Daniel Ayala has missed five matches with a groin problem, and while back on the training pitch, Mowbray says the weekend will come too soon for the Spaniard.

The same goes for Derrick Williams who has a grade two quadricep injury which has left him on the treatment table.

The absence of the two central defenders will likely mean a second successive start for Scott Wharton, after he lined up as part of an all-Academy backline in the win over QPR.

That was a first Championship start in over four years for the 23-year-old who is set to partner Darragh Lenihan who will return from Republic of Ireland duty today.

“What I would say is that they aren’t going to be ready this weekend,” Mowbray said of Ayala and Williams.

“They are both in the building, Daniel has been on the grass but didn’t join in with the session and is working back towards it.

“Derrick is a little further away than that, neither of them will be ready in my opinion.”

Lenihan and Nyambe will both undergo Covid tests, along with the rest of the squad, after their international duties with Republic of Ireland and Namibia.

There, the 22-year-old played in a 1-0 defeat to Mali last week and was in the starting line-up for the reverse fixture in Windhoek on Tuesday. However, Nyambe didn’t emerge for the game, with the Namibian FA reporting that he suffered an injury during the warm-up.

Mowbray revealed that was a thigh problem, and with Nyambe not due to land back until mid-day, the manager isn’t expecting the right back to be available.

“He’s been away in Africa, his plane lands back at mid-day, I saw the stuff that he missed the game because he felt his thigh in the warm-up,” Mowbray said.

“Is it a surprise him having three different flights to get to the middle of Africa on the back of the games he’s been playing? Not really.

“We’re not anticipating Ryan being available for the weekend.”

Nyambe had started the three previous matches at right back, with Joe Rankin-Costello on the left back as Barry Douglas and Amari’i Bell were both forced to self-isolate.

The pair played 45 minutes each in a behind closed doors friendly with Sheffield United on Tuesday to boost their hopes of featuring this weekend.

Their return will see a switch of positions for Rankin-Costello who is no stranger to playing right back, having done so on four occasions this season, including Rovers' three big wins.

Asked about the 21-year-old’s versatility, Mowbray added: “For young players it’s important. Malcolm Allison played me for a full season at left back while I was at Middlesbrough in the middle 1980s. Can you picture me at 6’2 playing left back for a whole season?

“Did it help me? Well it improved my defensive angles, how to move my feet and body shape when you’re defending the back stick.

“There’s lots of positives for Joe and he can handle it. Joe is fast, strong, he’s got two decent feet, a very determined young guy, I don’t fear for Joe.

“I was looking back the other day at the 5-0 and the couple of 4-0s and Joe played at right back in all of those games so I don’t sit here fearful of him playing right back.”