Tony Mowbray believes Daniel Ayala didn’t have anything to prove as the defender marked a disrupted first year with a goal in the win over Hull City.

Ayala netted the opener against the Tigers and has played every minute of Rovers’ seven Championship fixtures to date having only managed 10 appearances in the whole of last season.

With a full pre-season under his belt, Ayala is reaping the rewards, as Rovers who kept a first clean sheet in 16 games to continue a positive start with Tuesday’s 2-0 victory.

Still only 30, Mowbray believes Ayala’s pedigree means he never had anything to prove despite a difficult first season, but the challenge remains to keep him fit for as many matches as possible.

“Longevity will prove whether Daniel Ayala was the right signing or not,” Mowbray told the Lancashire Telegraph.

“We have to find a way to manage his workload through the week and get him on the pitch.

“I’ve no doubts, he doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone in my mind, he’s been promoted out of this league and led a Middlesbrough team out of the division, he can do it.

“I played until I was 37 at centre half, he’s only 30, he’s still a boy in centre half terms.

“You can see his worth.”

Hull have now gone nine hours without a goal, but for Rovers it was a first clean sheet since April when they were held to a 0-0 draw by Bristol City.

They were denied three points against Luton Town when a two goal lead was let slip, but there were no concerns this time around as Rovers held out against the newly-promoted Tigers.

Despite the wait for a clean sheet, Mowbray has been happy with what he’s seen from his defence this year which has added Harry Pickering to it at left back.

Jan Paul van Hecke and Tayo Edun are options added in the summer transfer window, while Scott Wharton is also on the comeback trail.

And Mowbray added: “Although it was the first clean sheet in a while, defensively the team have been pretty good this year.

“I’ve always felt we’ve been pretty solid and yet as I’ve said it’s a very young team.

“It’s not necessarily always the centre halves’ fault if a goal goes in, someone might not stop a cross, a midfield player might make a poor decision.

“We missed Daniel last season and I know it’s easy for me to stand here and tell everyone just how many more points we’d have got had Dani Ayala been playing, because we have to remember that’s our first clean sheet in seven games.”