Four talking points from Rovers' defeat at Bristol City.


Rovers missed the chance to equal their longest unbeaten run since promotion when Famara Diedhiou snatched victory for the hosts late on.

But now comes the important bit: the response.

Too often have we seen these long unbeaten sequences move Rovers within touching distance of the top six, only for one setback to be followed up with a long stretch without a win.

Rovers lost four of their five October matches having gone into the first international break with seven points out of 12.

Their eight game unbeaten run between November and December 2019 soon became one win in seven, while after moving two points shy of the play-offs in February they picked up just six points from the next 24.

Victory over Bristol City after the re-start in June moved them within one result again, they lost their next three.

The theme continued in 2018/19, a great start to the second half of the season followed by nine defeats in 11 games, that then followed by four wins in six to end the season.

It’s a flaw that Rovers must rid themselves off if they’re to challenge. And there would be no better time to find a win against a team currently in the top half than Saturday when the league leaders come to town.



For the first time this season, on Saturday, Rovers could have all three of Darragh Lenihan, Daniel Ayala and Derrick Williams available at the same time.

That luxury could afford Tony Mowbray the chance to go with a back three should he wish, with a midfield box infront of them, and then Adam Armstrong in attack.

It’s something Mowbray has contemplated, but not been able to do as yet, given the personnel available.

Lenihan’s failed appeal against his red card at Brentford meant Williams was thrust in for his first start in five weeks alongside Ayala, himself not having had the smoothest of times fitness wise.

Rovers have now lost 14 of the 23 Lenihan has missed since promotion to the Championship, winning just three, and keeping two clean sheets, one of those coming when Ayala and Williams were paired together against Cardiff City in October.

Whether Mowbray feels it is time to play all three on Saturday we’ll have to wait and see, but whoever he leaves out should he stick with a two will be an interesting call.



Adam Armstrong’s shoot on sight policy appeared clear from the start, an attempt at catching Dan Bentley off his line from 45 yards an early indication of that.

Armstrong has been averaging three shots on target per game, he managed five here, but there was more frustration at the striker’s approach than before, including from his team-mates.

Much of that centred on him no picking the best times to do it, particularly in the first half when cutting back onto his left foot and shooting over, when a first time ball for Sam Gallagher looked the better option.

You would have expected him to take a Harvey Elliott pass in his stride better than he did when denied by Bentley, his best opening of the night, and clearest sight of goal.

There is the thought of ‘can you blame him?’ given the form that he’s been in, averaging almost a goal a game, and how everything he seems to have touched in the early part of 2020 found the top corner.

This season it’s been more about the close-range finishes and one-on-ones, than long-range strikes, given his different role.

But Rovers do need to find a more regular source of goals from around the pitch, and that would likely alleviate some of the pressure Armstrong feels to perform. However, there did feel more of a selfishness here than we've seen previously, possibly owing to the greater scrutiny on the game, and talk around him, with the game being on Sky.

Armstrong has 14 goals in the league, the next best is three (Brereton, Dolan, Johnson, Gallagher). Joe Rothwell got off the mark with his strike at Brentford, with Lewis Holtby yet to trouble the scoresheet in the league.

When Mowbray looked to his bench to change the game, his main attacking options came in the form of Dolan and Harry Chapman who has managed just four substitute appearances so far.

With Brereton out, and Dack still to return, should Armstrong not be firing on all cylinders, Rovers need someone else to step up.



It seems that when Sky Sports show up, Rovers fail to bring their shootings boots.

Both of the times they have appeared live on television this season they have failed to score, drawing 0-0 with Middlesbrough last month and now losing 1-0 at Bristol City.

While Rovers remain the division’s top scorers, their 31 Championship goals have been spread across 12 matches, failing to score in five fixtures so far. It remains too that they have lost all but one of the games in which they have conceded first.

Rovers were six games unbeaten when the Sky Sports cameras rocked up at Ewood Park last December, only for them to draw 0-0 with Wigan Athletic, when Bradley Dack picked up his serious knee injury.

The cameras were treated to a 2-2 draw against Huddersfield Town in October 2019, and Brentford in February 2020, but they failed to score against Middlesbrough in February 2019 in a 1-0 defeat.

The cameras were also present for the 2-0 win at Millwall a month earlier, an opening 80 minutes that were as far from a classic as you can get, and the 1-0 win over Bolton in October 2018 wasn’t one for the purists.