Rovers took a “gamble” with the fitness of top scorer Adam Armstrong but Tony Mowbray reported the striker came through his 70-minute return unscathed.

Armstrong missed three matches with a hamstring injury and Mowbray had contemplated giving the 24-year-old the international break to recover.

However, Armstrong had been keen to return to the starting line-up, Mowbray recalling him to the side as part of six changes, but that couldn’t bring an upturn in fortunes as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Bristol City.

That means it is just one win in the last 11 matches for Rovers who head to leaders Norwich City tomorrow. On the decision to recall Armstrong, Mowbray said: “It was together, I included the medical department who had their doubts whether he was ready.

“Ultimately, I was a player and you know your body better than anyone else, you know when you feel ready and Adam felt ready and wanted to play.

“Together, we took that decision, and said he’d get maximum 70 minutes and he came through it fine. He told me he felt leggy by then, so that wasn’t even a decision. It was a gamble to even play him, but it became a case of how to react to his fatigued body.”

Lewis Holtby was another player recalled, his first start since Boxing Day and first involvement in a matchday squad since limping out of the QPR defeat last month with a knee injury.

The German midfielder came through the 90 minutes and had two late chances to win it for Rovers.

“I thought there would have been a goal in Lewis given the way he was playing, even though I was thinking about bringing him off given he’d only just returned from an injury,” Mowbray explained.

“Although we made six changes to the starting XI, I thought the team began to look a bit leggy after an hour, which is what can happen when you bring in players who haven’t played in a while.

“I thought the team performed alright.”

Rovers have an unenviable task this weekend, their final game before the international break, as they head to Championship leaders Norwich City who have won each of their last nine matches.

While Rovers have just five points from their last 33 available, the Canaries have collected 28, to take a firm grip on top spot as they eye an instant return to the top flight.

It completes a tough run of fixtures for Rovers who have faced fellow top-six sides Brentford, Swansea, Watford and Reading in the space of the last month, and Mowbray feels they have given a good account for themselves. And that’s why he’s looking forward to the Carrow Road trip.

He said: “That’ll be a real test for us.

“We haven’t lost a game by more than one goal for a long, long time, it’ll be really interesting to go there and see how we get on against the best team in the division.

“Hopefully the team are looking forward to it, I am.”