Rovers' search for a new centre back will only be a short-term solution which Tony Mowbray hopes to have in place for next weekend’s visit of Stoke City.

Owners Venky’s have given the boss funds to add up to two new loan players to the squad this month given the injury crisis in defence, with Scott Wharton and Derrick Williams both out for the season.

Daniel Ayala is expected to miss the remainder of the month which has seen Bradley Johnson fill in at centre back of late, though that’s a situation Mowbray is wanting to avoid for their next league game against the Potters in a week’s time.

It hasn’t proved possible in time for the FA Cup visit of Doncaster, with Mowbray admitting Premier League clubs’ own unavailability issues aren’t helping Rovers’ cause.

He told the Lancashire Telegraph: “We aren’t going to buy a centre half that’s going to be a long-term answer for the club.

“It’s not feasible with where we are as a club at this moment. We’re trying to look at loans, we’ve had lots of conversations.”

  • Tony Mowbray hopes the picture will become clearer in Rovers’ centre half search after this weekend’s FA Cup ties.

Rovers have three senior central defenders out injured, two for the season, and were forced to name a makeshift back four in the win at Birmingham City last time out.

That has seen them turn to the Premier League loan market in a bid to strengthen this month, but Mowbray has been knocked back in his attempts so far.

That is a partly owing to the prospect of several of Rovers’ targets featuring in the competition this weekend for their parent clubs, as top-flight managers plan to rest their senior stars in round three.

That looks likely in the case of Everton defender Jarrad Branthwaite, who looks set to be part of Carlo Ancelotti's squad for their tie with Rotherham, but then be freed to secure  a loan move for the remainder of the campaign.

Rovers weren’t initially planning to do any business this month, but injuries to Scott Wharton, Derrick Williams and Daniel Ayala within the last month, all in the same position, forced their hand.

At least one new central defender is being targeted, on a deal until the end of the season, to see Rovers through the second half of the campaign.

On the difficulties faced in the first week of the window, Mowbray said: “I think managers, particularly with it being cup weekend, are using a lot of their fringe players in the cup.

“They look deeper into their squad and play their younger players in the FA Cup and I’m hoping if some get knocked out then those players will become available because they aren’t players they would use in the Premier League.

“We might have to wait until after the weekend to see if the picture changes.”

Bradley Johnson, as he did in the defeat at Stoke City last month, slotted into the left-sided central defensive position, alongside captain Darragh Lenihan who is last man standing in that position.

While the pair helped Rovers keep a clean sheet in the victory over Birmingham City at St Andrew’s last weekend, it’s a situation Mowbray wants to avoid for the return game against the Potters next weekend, with high-flying Swansea City due at Ewood Park on January 19 before either a trip to Middlesbrough, or FA Cup fourth round tie.

He added: “I think it’s important. Scotty Wharton and Derrick Williams are out and Daniel Ayala will be a week or two short for that game.

“We don’t really want to go into league fixtures playing Bradley Johnson as a left-sided centre half even if he helped us keep a clean sheet in the last Championship fixture.

“If we have to, we have to.”

Rovers aren’t alone in struggling with injuries, while the issue of positive Covid tests is also hitting clubs hard, with Mowbray admitting several clubs are unwilling to allow players to leave in the fear they could leave themselves short for their equally packed fixture schedules.

The club have space for two more loanees, with Barry Douglas, Tom Trybull and Harvey Elliott all having been borrowed from Leeds United, Norwich City and Liverpool respectively for the season.

And Mowbray added: “I have asked lots of Premier League managers over the last week about players who aren’t in their starting line-up but they don’t want to let their fringe players go because of Covid issues, their squads getting reduced and the injuries they’re picking up because of the number of games.

“Even if someone doesn’t make their bench they still feel they might be needed somewhere down the line and it’s very difficult to prise the players out, unless they’re very young and miles away from the squad.”