Sam Gallagher’s athleticism, as well as other options at the club, are why Tony Mowbray has largely used the attacker on the right side of the Rovers attack, despite his preference for playing through the middle.

Gallagher got his chance as the central striker in the win over Reading, but it was just after a switch to the right when he opened the scoring before adding an assist for Tyrhys Dolan as Rovers ran out 2-0 winners.

The 26-year-old had been rested for the midweek game at QPR, as was Dolan, but the pair returned to the side with renewed energy for the visit of the Royals to partner Brereton in attack as Mowbray’s side got back to winning ways.

The manager has hinted that he plans to rotate the attacking trio across the front line, with Dolan scoring when cutting in from the left against Reading, a role almost exclusively reserved for Brereton in the early weeks of the campaign.

Gallagher and Brereton have largely flanked Dolan so far, with the pair having had to be content with playing out wide since their respective arrivals at the club given the form of Adam Armstrong last season and Danny Graham and Bradley Dack before that.

Mowbray understands Gallagher’s desire to play as a central striker, as he did during a loan spell in 2016/17 when he netted 12 goals, but Mowbray has never seen a wider role as a barrier to goals.

Indeed, Gallagher is now up to five goals and three assists from his 12 appearances thus far, closing in on the eight he managed during the 2020/21 campaign.

“Gallagher’s game is based on hard work. He’s an amazing athlete Gally, for someone who is 6’4, he’s really powerful, has really good stamina levels, that’s why generally through my time here I’ve played him on the right,” the manager explained.

“I’ve had lots of chats in my office with Gallagher about the fact he would like to play down the middle.

“Yet towards the end of Danny Graham’s time here, Sam was playing out wide, Graham and Dack played up front, last year Armstrong played up front and we got the rewards as a football club, this year with the front three generally of Dolan, Gallagher and Brereton I assess the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition and I think they can all play off the left, off the right or down the middle.

“We generally through the week of training decide where they are going to play and we can change it.

“I had a laugh with him that he scored with his first touch when I moved him on to the right because he wants to play down the middle and yet we made the substitution, I pushed him out to the right and moved Brereton down the middle who is a bit more technical.”

Ian Poveda and Reda Khadra were signed on loan from Leeds United and Brighton respectively to add more depth to the Rovers attacking options, but they failed to secure a frontline striker in the summer following Armstrong’s departure to Southampton.

What the trio of Dolan, Brereton and Gallagher have brought, as well as their 18 goals, is a work ethic at the top end of the pitch that Mowbray demands and one he believes sets the tone for the rest of the team.

He added: “I’m happy with all of them, the work ethic of the team starts from the front, and that’s why it’s really important that they are all athletic and they all have their different qualities.

“Brereton is technical, Dolan will chase down a piece of paper and has amazing work ethic and Gallagher can head balls in as well as run in behind and chase people down.”