The substitution of Ben Brereton moments after his second goal against Peterborough United was pre-planned, Tony Mowbray revealed.

Brereton scored Rovers’ second and fourth goals in the 4-0 success, his second coming on the hour. That proved to be his last touch as he was replaced by Reda Khadra.

Mowbray said it was to give a well-earned rest to the 22-year-old who has appeared in every match this season, alongside his commitments on the international scene for Chile, with no thought given to his quest for a second hat-trick of the campaign.

Brereton is now up to 16 goals this season, with six in his last five outings, ahead of the weekend visit to Stoke City.

Mowbray said there was no complaints from Brereton about the substitution which was discussed at the break, with Rovers already 3-0 up.

“I talked to him at half time and said that I was going to bring him off but would give him the opportunity to go and score a goal,” he said.

“He wasn’t arguing. As he’s running you can see him blowing ,it was tough for him.

“He’s not a player we rotate in and out, he’s one of our robust players who I feel can play 90 minutes after 90 minutes.

“But I felt the game was done, there was no need to keep Brereton on, he didn’t need to stay on to try and get a hat-trick.

“We have another game on Saturday and we need him to be ready.”

The one downside on the night was an injury to Daniel Ayala who limped off inside the opening half hour.

Ayala is only just back from a calf strain, which sidelined him for a month, but Mowbray revealed that it wasn’t a recurrence of that problem which forced him off.

He added: “It wasn’t a muscle strain which is a positive, it was an ankle turn.

“We’ll see, he might even be able to strap it up and send him back out there.

“If it was a calf strain it might be four to six weeks but it’s just a twisted ankle.”

With no central defensive cover on the bench Rovers stuck with their back three as Bradley Johnson replaced the Spaniard.

“Whenever we do shape on a Thursday or Friday, so many teams play with a back three in this league, Johno finds himself in the middle of a back three,” Mowbray explained.

“We haven’t got six centre halves training most weeks so we play against a team with a back three and Johnson is often in the middle of that with Carter and Magloire.

“He always looks really composed with the ball at his feet, picks a good pass, can win headers and I felt it was a night where he could bring his qualities and he’ll be feeling good about himself.

“He helped the team secure that victory.”