Defender Daniel Ayala says the team spirit in the Rovers dressing room is the best he has ever experienced.

Ayala – who arrived at Ewood Park back in September 2020 - was on target in the 2-1 win at Nottingham Forest on Wednesday night.

Despite losing several players over the summer, the defender insists the Rovers are in better shape than last season.

“The difference this season is we have a much smaller squad,” said Ayala. “The togetherness in the team, you can see it every game.

“Everyone is fighting for each other and giving everything.

“I think it’s great we have all these young players coming through. I think they have done really well, they just have to keep it up.

“It’s always good to start well. I’ve been in a lot of teams and this togetherness, I haven’t seen it before so hopefully that carries on.

“We might have less quality than last year but we definitely have more togetherness and I think we are a better team.”

Ayala has formed an effective partnership with Rovers captain Darragh Lenihan at the heart of defence.

The Spaniard believes getting along off the pitch is vital to having good communication on matchday.

“I’ve had a few partnerships over the years but I think it is quite important to have a relationship outside football,” he added.

“We get on really well, we’re not just teammates. On the pitch, we fight for each other and we want the best for each other.

“He’s brilliant around the training ground, everyone looks up to him.”

Rovers welcome West Brom to Ewood Park on Saturday afternoon, with both sides looking to continue their unbeaten starts in the Championship.

Ayala is expecting a tough afternoon against the Baggies but believes his teammates are well-prepared for the game.

“I think everyone can see how they play and it’s going to be a tough battle,” said the defender. “We have to be ready for it, but I think we are.

“They play long balls, throw-ins, corners but they also have unbelievable quality up front, so I think it is going to be a really big test for us. I’m sure we are ready.”