Daniel Ayala is looking forward to build on a positive start for both him and the team as he continues his manage his fitness in a bid to have the biggest impact possible.

Ayala has started all five of Rovers’ Championship matches this season and is already halfway to matching his appearance tally from an injury-hit debut campaign at Ewood Park.

Tony Mowbray has said the club are managing the training time of the Spaniard in a bid to maintain his presence on a matchday, the manager describing Ayala’s performance in the draw at former club Middlesbrough as ‘immense’.

The defender has been one of Rovers’ best performers in the opening weeks of the season, and approaching a year at the club, Ayala puts his form down to having a full build-up to the campaign.

He said: “Last season I didn’t have a pre-season and think it’s always difficult to catch up but I’ve come back fit and that’s helped.

“Me as a player I know what I can give if I’m fully fit, I’m feeling great and the way we’ve started has been great.

“You get the fitness from the games, especially in the Championship you don’t need that much training.

“I go in the gym and do the work, I go outside with the lads but not always the full sessions and the main thing is being fit for the games.

“My main attributes are physical so I need to be 100 per cent, or close to that, and I’m feeling good and ready to go.”

Captain Darragh Lenihan has been Ayala’s partner for the opening five matches, with Hayden Carter having also been a part of the backline when Rovers have switched to a back three.

Jan Paul van Hecke was brought in from Brighton on a season-loan long to add further competition to the defensive ranks, but the experience comes in the form of Lenihan and Ayala.

The club captain described his defensive partner as ‘a winner’, and Ayala says he’s always looking to use his experience where possible.

He added: “It’s like anything, the more you play the more you understand each other. The more games we play together the better we will get.

“As you get older you get more vocal because there are a lot of young players here who maybe need some guidance, and when I was younger maybe I wasn’t as vocal as you expect the senior players to do it.

“I want to help the team, the players and I think they see me as the grandad!”