Four Rovers talking points from the 3-0 win at Preston North End.


So comfortable were Rovers that they were able to rest top scorer Adam Armstrong and influential midfielder Lewis Holtby for the final half an hour.

While Armstrong’s goals have been key, with 13 now in all competitions, Holtby’s influence on this side has been just as evident.

From minute one he showed his class, and just how Rovers miss him when he’s not available, dictating the pace of the game from the middle of the park. He has assumed the role that Stewart Downing had for much of last season, and clear from Holtby’s displays are the way he controls games with his voice, as well as his left foot.

The 30-year-old took time to settle in at Ewood Park, but has benefited from a full pre-season, and a deeper role in the side, where he feels he’s at his best.

He was moved around last season, playing in a variety of roles, but Rovers have now found where he can be his most influential.

Finding the right balance of players in midfield hasn’t been easy, but Holtby and Rothwell look the most suited to the wider of the three positions. When Rovers are good, they are very good, and that’s largely down to the control in midfield.



For the fifth time in 13 games this season Rovers scored at least three goals. They also claimed a sixth clean sheet. When this team win, they often do it in style.

They are the only team in the division in double figures for goals scored at home, and away, their 15 on the road a league high, as is their goal difference of plus 10.

This was more about stats however, this was about the dominance of going to your near neighbours and putting down a marker from the first minute that the game would be played how Rovers wanted.

Preston didn’t have a touch in the Rovers box for 25 minutes, not a single shot on target across the 90 minutes, or a corner. The hosts had 354 touches of the ball, the Rovers back five had 419.

The stats backed up your eyes, this was real dominance against 11, not just 10.

We know the potential of this team, what must follow now is the consistency.



Rovers have now come up against 10-men on four occasions this season, so have certainly had the practice, and used their man advantage well once again.

For Tony Mowbray, it’s no coincidence that opponents have had players shown straight red cards on three occasions, two leading to penalties, because of the pace in the attack.

Darius Charles was sent off for hauling down Armstrong in the 5-0 win over Wycombe, while Michael Rose’s pull on Ben Brereton earned him a red card in the 4-0 win at Coventry City.

Armstrong scored from the spot on that occasion, as he did here when it was Sam Gallagher fouled in the box by Joe Raffety who felt he had no option but to pull him down.

The anomaly was in the 0-0 draw with Cardiff City when Lee Tomlin was shown a red card following two bookings.

Rovers couldn’t break the Bluebirds down on that occasion, but the pace they have in the team, and their ability to keep the ball, is causing Championship defenders issues.



Rovers will be aiming to complete an unbeaten November this weekend when they host Barnsley. So far this month they have taken eight points from a possible 12. And it is a month they have performed well in of late.

In 2019 their season started to get motoring as they put together four wins in five, with victories over Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley, Brentford and Stoke City, a 2-1 defeat at Leeds United the one slip-up.

Things were a little tougher in 2018, with defeats at Preston North End and Wigan to follow the international break, having gone into it on the back of a win over QPR and draw with Rotherham.

It was in November 2017 that Rovers put together a run of results that really showed their quality in the League One promotion season, and moved them quickly up the table as they played catch-up.

They won all four of their matches, with big wins on the road at Bury, Oxford United and Blackpool, with a home win against Bristol Rovers, as Tony Mowbray won the manager of the month prize.

Even in the relegation season of 2016/17, November was a good month, with an eye-catching win at Newcastle United coming after a home win over Brentford. The only blot that month was a 2-1 defeat at Aston Villa.

That means that from their last 20 games in November, Rovers have won 13 and drawn three, with just four defeats, scoring 38 goals and amassing 42 points. Here’s hoping it’s the month that kickstarts their season once again.