Behind closed doors, teams fielding Under-23s side, no replays and midweek ties in the fifth round, would suggest the FA Cup has lost something of its sparkle this year, but not to Rovers boss Tony Mowbray.

The romance of the cup was built up during his teenage years, with FA Cup final day a spectacle in his house, able to reel off at will special moments from the competition’s history at will.

That’s why Mowbray will continue to name strong sides in the competition, something of a rarity among managers, not least with the third round coming after the busy winter schedule.

Only three players were switched for the game at Birmingham City at this stage 12 months ago, and Mowbray hasn’t ruled out a similar approach this time around, despite the mounting absentee list.

Bradley Dack and Lewis Travis are both confirmed as starters, with Mowbray keen to improve on a record that has seen him fail to go beyond the third round in his previous three attempts as Rovers manager.

“The FA Cup is always magic in my eyes. As a kid in the 70s I would always sit with my dad and his mates and watch the FA Cup final and it was the biggest day of the year,” he explained.

“They would be drinking their cans, my mother would have made sandwiches and sausage rolls and it would be an amazing day and it left a huge impression on me, FA Cup final day.

“I could always recollect every FA Cup final from that amazing Leeds v Chelsea game in 1970 right through to modern day, who won, because I used to sit and watch them all.

“It’s always been big for me, but yet here we are, no fans, half a team, teams having to play Under-23s teams, years ago Manchester United didn’t even have a team in it, is it less of an exciting thing than it was in the 1970s?

“I think back to Charlie George laid on his back in 1971, belting one in for Arsenal against Liverpool, those amazing things, but it’s not what it used to be.

“But it would still be great to go deep into the tournament and to do well.”