Tactical work is on the agenda for Rovers as Tony Mowbray contemplates a shift to a three-man defence.

With Scott Wharton and Daniel Ayala back fit and Jan Paul van Hecke one game away from returning from his three-match suspension it has opened up the possibility of going with a back three on a regular basis.

It is a tactic Rovers used against Coventry City and QPR last month and helped them turn the game around at Bristol City having struggled with the hosts’ set piece threat in the first half.

The conundrum for Mowbray is to ensure that a change in formation doesn’t inhibit Rovers’ attacking play and finding the right balance in midfield and attack to marry any plan to go with three central defenders.

It is a system used regularly by more than half of the Championship sides, and Mowbray said of any possible move: “As long as we can keep scoring goals. We have to threaten the opposition goal.

“I’ve said to them that we have to do more positional work on the team.

“Whether we play 3-4-3 and keep the three strikers still, maybe at home and sometimes away from home you might have to drop another one into midfield like Buckley has been doing playing off the front and stopping the pivot of the opposition but still getting forward.

“We have to get the balance right.

“I emphasise hard work, fighting spirit and togetherness and connectivity of the team.

“Let’s wait and see how the team looks as we move forward.”

Rovers brought in van Hecke on loan from Brighton having done similar with Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Jarrad Branthwaite last season.

Scott Wharton missed the majority of last season with a ruptured Achilles while persistent injury issues meant Ayala only made 10 appearances during his debut campaign.

Mowbray is hoping for greater competition this time around with Ayala, Wharton and van Hecke joining captain Darragh Lenihan in providing central defensive options for the manager.

He added: “Jan Paul van Hecke is in to that as well, he’s been really impressive in training. He had an uncontrolled moment in the Fulham game but I think the quality he shows in quality makes it four.

“Competition for places, it’s what you want. It’s good to have them back available.

“It’s important to have options, in the past we’ve had to go to young players and it’s great that they get game-time for Blackburn Rovers in our first-team but if the reality and expectation is to win games then that’s not at the expense of young players getting minutes and experience. We have to win games.

“You would prefer your senior players to be available and see whether they can get the job done.

“If you’re being honest, in that position you would prefer to play your most experienced players all of the time and bring a stability and consistency to performance but that’s not always been the case in recent years.”

Mowbray said his lack of game-time up to that point was both down to the form of the players already at the club, but also a need for Poveda to acclimatise to the demands being placed on him out of possession.

“It’s been two-fold for me. If Brereton, Dolan and Gallagher have been doing well and scoring goals, he was here to play in that area of the field,” Mowbray explained.

“I was keeping our own players who were doing well, affecting the game and helping us win matches.

“The main work we’ve had to do with him has been the out of possession stuff, there’s not a lot I can teach him about dragging the ball foot to foot and skipping past people like he can.

“His out of possession work for our team, we needed to go over that with him and repeating it.

“He’s shown fantastic maturity, I’ve got a Subbuteo board in my office and I tend to do a bit of tactical work on that with the players and we spent half an hour on positional play.

“He had shown some real maturity over the last two or three weeks and it’s a real blow for us and him that’s it happened now.”

The manager feels more time on the training ground is needed if Rovers are to commit to a system change but believes the defensive options available has opened up the prospect of a switch.

“We’ve had a fair bit of success playing 4-3-3,” Mowbray said.

“We will look at each game, each time and look to pick a team to win each match.

“The team is the most important thing, not necessarily the defence.

“We have to be able to score goals, to get men in the box, get men forward and try and win football matches.

“That’s the conundrum.

“Some games when you’re playing against one striker, why do you need three at the back?

“You have to get the balance right, there were stages the other day when Lenihan and Wharton stepped in (to midfield) as Sheffield United did with their three at the back.

“We have to work at that, we haven’t really had three experienced centre halves available for a lot of the time and it’s difficult to do work on a system or shape because you don’t have any time.

“Hopefully we can get some work done on the training ground in the next couple of weeks if we’re going to look at different formations.”