Ryan Nyambe and Lewis Holtby have both trained ahead of the Stoke City fixture – but Daniel Ayala remains up to three weeks away.

Nyambe has missed Rovers’ last two matches having been forced to self-isolate, having also come off in the defeat at Huddersfield Town on December 29 with a sore hamstring.

That saw Barry Douglas fill in at right back for the Championship win at Birmingham City, while John Buckley slotted in for the FA Cup tie against Doncaster.

Lewis Holtby has also sat out the last two matches with a sore hamstring, joining Ayala, Scott Wharton, Derrick Williams, Elliott Bennett, Joe Rankin-Costello and Corry Evans on the sidelines.

Ayala however hasn’t featured since limping out of the Huddersfield defeat, and looks unlikely to feature again this month, with Rovers moving into the loan market to bring in Jarrad Branthwaite to help ease the injuries at the back.

Mowbray said: “Nyambe has trained for a couple of days, Lewis Holtby has been back training.

“Elliott Bennett has been doing the warm-up which is positive, Joe Rankin-Costello is not at that level yet but it a week or 10 days behind that.

“So we have players on the horizon, but not quite ready at the moment.”

Branthwaite looks certain to start against the Potters with his deal set to be signed off well in advance of the cut-off point to feature at the weekend.

That will be a particular boost given that Bradley Johnson has had to fill in at centre half given Rovers’ injury concerns.

On Ayala, who has started eight matches since his free transfer move, Mowbray said: “Two or three weeks I would think at this moment.

“We’ll be pragmatic and conservative and say three weeks, he’s not out there with his boots on yet so is still a while away yet.”