Ben Brereton is last man standing when it comes to starting every Rovers game this season – and while that won’t last forever, Tony Mowbray is delighted with the attacker’s contribution.

Brereton has started all 13 league matches, and the two Carabao Cup ties, with only four members of the squad having featured in every matchday squad so far.

However, it is the form of Brereton, rather than him avoiding injury or the Covid absences that have blighted the squad, that have seen him become a mainstay in the side.

With games continuing to come every three or four days, and nine more fixtures before the end of the year, Mowbray says it won’t be sustainable to start all of those given the work that’s required of him playing on the left of the Rovers attack.

When the times comes to leave Brereton out however, Mowbray says he shouldn’t see that as a slight on his performance.

“He’s a player that I had that discussion with that he won’t be able to play all of these games and I have to pick the right time to put him on the bench,” he said.

“But he shouldn’t see that as a negative because he comes off the bench for 20 minutes and scores again then what’s he has to do.

“He is affecting games, creating chances, scoring goals, he’s creating assists, and he’s a threat.

“Ben is happy, he’s feeling fit, and after my conversation with him he’s still looking forward to it and there’s every chance he’ll be starting this weekend.”

Already this season Brereton has started more league games than he had during his previous two seasons at the club, and already beaten his goal tally.

Only Darragh Lenihan has had more minutes on the pitch in the Championship than Brereton’s 1,205, already double the amount he had last season, while he also leads the club’s assists list with five.

It has been a terrific turnaround in fortunes for the 21-year-old who found himself on the fringes of the first-team in the first 18 months following his £6m switch from Nottingham Forest.

Not 22 until April, Mowbray sees plenty more growth in the attacker whose form and fitness have been strong in the early weeks of the campaign.

“He’s a lad that hadn’t played much football over the last 18 months and he’s still a young man,” the manager added.

“He’s a brilliant individual, I’ve been trying to stress that to everybody for two years, but it’s like he’s come of age.

“He’s enjoying his football, in training every day he’s playing with a smile on his face, and he looks pretty robust to me.

“I’m not sat there thinking ‘I shouldn’t be playing Ben today because his hammy is a bit tight’. He’s telling me he’s fit and raring to go and I ask every player how they’re feeling.”

Tyrhys Dolan, John Buckley and Ryan Nyambe are the other three players in the squad to have featured in every matchday squad so far, the number of substitutes available to Mowbray having now risen from three to five.

Joe Rankin-Costello added his name to the injury list in the last week and will miss the next two months at least with a hamstring injury, the same problem that is also keeping out Corry Evans.

Mowbray says the club are working hard to try and prevent any more soft tissue injuries, and says they are in constant communication with the playing squad over their fitness.

“With very little pre-season preparation from the end of last season to the start of this one, footballers are human beings and they break down sometimes,” he explained.

“We have concern of course on the back of Rankin-Costello and we need to know how they’re feeling as the games keep rolling along.

“When I’ve had those chats with the players they understand there’s an honesty and integrity with how we’re trying to do it, and they should be happy that there’s someone competing for their place in the team.”