Mark Patterson believes the current Rovers crop remind him of the sides of the mid-1980s in pushing for promotion to the top flight.

Rovers moved into seventh, outside of the play-off spots on goal difference only, with the win over Sheffield United before the international break.

Patterson was in attendance for the meeting of his two former sides where Rovers responded to going a goal behind to take all three points thanks to goals from Reda Khadra, Ben Brereton and Ian Poveda.

For Chile international Brereton it was a 13th goal of the season and he has led the club’s charge towards the top six.

The side are currently performing above expectation but this is their 10th season since relegation from the Premier League. While there is no expectancy to return this season, they have put themselves in a good position at the 17 game stage.

Before clinching promotion in 1991/92, Rovers had 12 consecutive seasons in the second tier, with three failed play-off attempts before their victory Leicester City under Kenny Dalglish.

And Patterson said: “They have something good going on, Brereton this season has been a breath of fresh air and has won a lot of people a lot of money with that crazy bet.

“It reminds me a little bit of the early to mid-80s with Bobby Saxton, where we floated around there, we nearly got there and just missed out.

“They just need that run, that consistency, get on that run and get that belief going. It’s tough.

“I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they can get to the play-offs and then it’s just a lottery.”

Patterson came through the Rovers ranks to make his debut as a teenager and go to play over 100 times before his departure in 1988.

The club are looking to bring more players through their Category One Academy, with the returning Scott Wharton one of five graduates in the starting line-up against the Blades.

Ryan Nyambe, Darragh Lenihan, Wharton, Lewis Travis and John Buckley all came through the club’s Academy system to become regulars in the side, with Joe Rankin-Costello, Dan Butterworth and Hayden Carter among those pushing for more involvement.

The average age of the squad was reduced dramatically over the summer, when several experienced players left at the expiry of their contracts, and Patterson says youthful energy can count for a lot.

Having been through the same process as a young player at Rovers himself, he says focus and dedication are key qualities required.

He said: “It’s tough because they have to take their eyes off the money and they have got to want to play football.

“I’m sure they do that, but you can get a bit misguided these days with what’s on offer.

“All I would say is focus, think about yourself, what you want to achieve, and if you can do a bit more than you think you’re doing, do it, be dedicated.

“Because football, like life in general, just give it your best shot and if you come away and can say ‘I couldn’t have done any more than what I’ve done’ then you’ll be happy with yourself.

“If you come away and say ‘maybe I could have done a bit better’ that’ll be in your mind for the rest of your life.

“Focus, be positive, don’t have any regrets.”