The Rovers players will keep demanding of each other in a bid to keep their positive start going – with midfielder John Buckley also keen to ensure his personal progress continues.

Buckley has started seven of Rovers’ eight games so far, matching his tally from last season, with the 22-year-old set out his stall to up his number of starts.

Having been a regular in the squad, featuring in all but one squad last season, he set his stall out to try and force his way into the starting line-up more regular.

He’s made a positive start to the season, as have the team, and Buckley is looking for both to continue, outlined by a schedule drawn up to work on the areas of his game he’s wanting to improve.

Described by Tony Mowbray as a ‘thinking footballer’, Buckley has taken on a number of different roles so far, his ability to win the ball back off the opposition with his reading of the game having become a key asset to the squad.

“I always want to keep getting better,” Buckley said. “I do a schedule each month so on a Tuesday or Thursday after training I know what I need to work on, whether it’s shooting around the box, switching the play, different things just to keep getting better.

“I worked through the summer, I didn’t really stop, and I feel good, strong in my body, fitter, and it’s just about improving.

“I feel like I’m getting there, I’m getting more games and keep getting fitter each game and hopefully I can keep it going.”

Buckley’s ability on the ball has often been seen as his greatest strength, while also being able to pop up with a goal from midfield.

However, the early weeks of this season have uncovered what manager Tony Mowbray is one of his best attributes.

He explained: "I've had to focus John on pinching possession being a big strength of his.

“He likes to play with the ball and can do wonderful things with the ball, especially with those snake hips - but I think his biggest attribute is nicking the ball.

"He anticipates, stretches out a leg and pokes the ball away from the opposition. And then he joins in, he wants to stride forward with the ball.

"He is very good in a front-foot press, nicking the ball off the opposition which helps our team massively."

Buckley has now gone past 50 appearances for Rovers, but it is upping his number of starts that has most pleased the homegrown youngster.

The 0-0 draw at Barnsley was just a second 90 minutes of the season, and Buckley feels he is growing into the campaign the more it goes on, helping him feel a more established member of the side.

He added: “I’m buzzing with the start, eight out of nine starts including the cup game, and I’m feeling good.

“That was probably the best I’ve felt fitness wise, playing 90 minutes. I just want to keep it going.

“I wanted to get more starts, and I know that I will get better with the games, I’ve said that before.

“I feel as though as I’ve had a good start to the season and just want to keep that going.”

The experience in a young Rovers squad, with Bradley Johnson out injured, comes from goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski and central defensive pairing Darragh Lenihan and Daniel Ayala.

Buckley says the duo are helping to drive the standards within the side, with the team spirit having been crucial to a start to the season that has seen Rovers lose just one of their opening eight fixtures.

Back-to-back clean sheets finished off a five point week, with victory over Hull City followed by the stalemate at Barnsley where the midfielder operated in an unfamiliar midfield role that helped Rovers shut down the threat of the Reds full backs, en route to a second successive shut-out.

“The gaffer always talks about demanding of each other and the centre halves Darragh and Dan are demanding high standards of us,” Buckley said.

“I think that’s helping with the positivity of the group at the minute.

“They’re helping the younger lads keep the standards high.

“I think we’ve looked hard to beat.

“We’ve only lost one game this season and that was against one of the favourites to go up, and that was a tight game as well, so we’ll look to keep adding points, building and the lads are positive.

“We’re taking it game by game, we’ve got a young team and we’re playing well together.”