Stewart Downing’s hour-long outing in a behind closed doors match in midweek looks set to be followed by a return to the matchday squad this weekend.

The 36-year-old re-joined the club before the international break but hasn’t played since July when he left Rovers after his previous one-year contract expired.

The club managed to secure his return earlier this month, and after building up his fitness during the international break and in the 2-2 draw with Sheffield United at Brockhall on Tuesday, Mowbray says the midfielder could be an option from the bench at Kenilworth Road.

Rovers are now able to name a matchday squad of 20 after the EFL this week increased the number of substitutes available to managers back to the five that were available during the Project Restart games

“Stewart played 60 minutes the other day and he feels fine. We don’t work Stewart like the other players,” Rovers boss Mowbray said.

“We don’t physically demand of Stewart like we might some of the other players because his attributes are about his quality and what he brings on the grass with his passing, his ability to pick the right pass, his composure, rather than the intensity that we’re driving the rest of the lads with.

“There’s every chance he might make the bench or be involved in some way.”

Lewis Holtby could make the bench, but is unlikely to start, after struggling with illness prior to, and during, the international break, having missed the 3-1 win over QPR.

“Lewis isn’t 100 per cent yet, but he’s back training and was training the day before as well, but he doesn’t look quite right to me, so he probably won’t play,” Mowbray explained.

Holtby has started nine of Rovers’ 11 matches so far, with Corry Evans taking his place against QPR, but the Northern Ireland international was forced off after just four minutes with a hamstring problem.

That is expected to sideline the 30-year-old for the next month, opening up a spot in the middle of the park against the Hatters

It could well be a battle between Tom Trybull and John Buckley to partner Bradley Johnson and Joe Rothwell, both who have had their own illness concerns this season, should Mowbray stick with the three-man midfield.

Buckley replaced Evans in the QPR win, and scored in the behind closed doors game against the Blades.

Trybull was an unused substitute against Rangers having come off in the 0-0 draw with Middlesbrough four days earlier with a rib problem.

However, much will depend on the results on the Covid-testing that the players underwent on Thursday morning.

Mowbray added: “Normally you would try and prepare your team today, have a couple of days of build-up, but what happened after the last international break was that we prepared the team and then on Friday we got a positive test and your team changes quite dramatically.”