Rovers have increasing issues to contend with in defence ahead of the trip to Derby County with a number of players having not trained this week.

Daniel Ayala is likely to miss the weekend with the calf problem that forced him off in the win over Reading which looks set to put an end to his ever-present run of starts.

Ryan Nyambe also came off against Reading with a tight hamstring, a game which Harry Pickering missed through a calf injury, and neither have trained this week.

Jan Paul van Hecke is poised to start alongside captain Darragh Lenihan, with Joe Rankin-Costello in contention for a shock return to the side after five months out with a broken foot having played 67 minutes for the Under-23s in their 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Monday night.

The 22-year-old was expected to feature for the Under-23s again at Crystal Palace on Monday, however Mowbray revealed there is a chance he could be involved at Derby.

On the prospect of an inclusion for Rankin-Costello, who hasn’t played since the Good Friday defeat at Wycombe, Mowbray said he would consider it, but added: “It won’t be for 90 minutes though, he hasn’t played 90 minutes yet.

“As I’ve said to Joe my thoughts are with him, I’m not here to throw him in because we need him, I’m here to try and help him get up to speed so he can play 90 minutes consecutively week after week for the team and he feels strong and confident and able to do that, not throw him in because he breaks down and misses a few months.

“Fingers crossed for Joe when he gets thrown in he gets through the time period he’s been asked to play.”

Ayala has started Rovers' opening 14 matches, already four more appearances than he made in the whole of the last campaign, but Mowbray said: “He hasn’t trained since coming off, I’ve seen him in the gym and he’s in good spirits.

“Nyambe, Ayala, Pickering, Rankin-Costello, we need to see whether they train tomorrow, none of them have trained so far.

“If they train and they feel okay then they’ll have a chance to travel.”

Hayden Carter and Tyler Magloire have been used as defensive cover earlier in this season, but neither are expected to be available this weekend.

Carter has made despite five starts for the senior side this season, he hasn’t featured in the last three matchday squads.

The 21-year-old came through the full game against Liverpool, despite sustaining a foot injury.

“Jan Paul is the only real cover at the moment, Tyler Magloire is away at the moment with a family issue, I’m not sure if Hayden Carter is going to make it, he hasn’t trained all week, he got a kick on his foot on Monday and we’re not sure whether he’s going to train. I don’t feel as though we are better covered,” Mowbray added.

Scott Wharton remains on the comeback trail with 90 minutes under his belt against Liverpool, his third appearance for the Under-23s since returning to training following his ruptured Achilles sustained at Brentford in December.

Mowbray said: “He’s still a bit away from my eye, watching him play against Liverpool the other night he still has a little bit to go with his timing and a few aspects of his game.

“For his own self-confidence, he’s getting closer.”