Tony Mowbray says he knows in his mind how Rovers’ contract talks will play out ahead of an ‘uncertain’ January transfer window.

The futures of Rovers’ quartet of key players into the final year of their deals remains a key concern for the club, and supporters, who fear losing Ryan Nyambe, Darragh Lenihan, Joe Rothwell and top scorer Ben Brereton unless fresh terms are agreed.

Top scorer Brereton is expected to attract interest in January, though the club do have a 12-month option on the 22-year-old, but Nyambe, Rothwell and Lenihan all see their deals expire in 2022.

Mowbray says their futures won’t impact on their selection in the side, unless they become ‘distracted’, with three-year deals, with a 12 month option remaining on the table.

But Mowbray warned: “We have to take these conversations with their agents to an end point, we are trying, you try and put it on the line, but not to the point where ‘if we don’t do something today then it’s finished and we’re definitely moving on’.

“That would be cutting your nose off to spite your face.

“The club has to have a plan where we’re going, moving forward, so those conversations have been had pretty regular with the advisors and players and staff who can make those decisions.

“At this moment, my only concerns is, that while I have to talk to players’ agents at times, I have to keep the players on board, focussed and they have to perform for the team.

“If they don’t perform and they get distracted then they won’t play and we’ll have to have other options who can come in and do the job.”

Rovers sold last season’s top scorer Adam Armstrong to Southampton for an initial £15m in the summer window as he moved into the final year of his contract after scoring 29 goals.

Tayo Edun, brought in from Lincoln City for an initial £400,000, was the sole permanent addition of the summer as Rovers reined in their spending as several senior players departed at the end of their deals.

The club are looking at incomings, including pre-contract offers to targets, but of their own players, the manager said: “We have a January transfer window coming up with some uncertainty attached to it. We have some key players coming up to the end of their contracts.

“There’s been a lot of conversations but not a lot to report. I don’t think now is the time for me to sit and talk about how these talks go.

“Time will show the supporters what happens, who signs and who doesn’t, whether people leave or get sold, whether they sign contracts, at this moment it’s best to pick teams to try and win games and see how it rolls.”

Reading followed Derby County in being hit with a points deduction for breaking Profit & Sustainability rules. Rovers avoided such a sanction following the £16.6m sale of their Brockhall training base, while the Armstrong departure offers a buffer for the year to 2022.

Mowbray says the desire to reach the Premier League is making many clubs stretch their spending, and said: “We have to build a team and build a club. It’s become a bit more difficult, financially it’s become a lot more difficult for teams in this league.

“Another club this week has had a six-point deduction and I think it’s only because teams are striving to get into the top six, striving to get out of this division, but you have to be mindful that you don’t put your football club at risk.

“I understand on the other side of the coin that everyone wants to win games, everyone’s expectation is to win every football and as I’ve said you’ll have a better chance of being more consistent and getting to the right levels with better, more experienced, more highly-paid footballers.”