Captain Darragh Lenihan is ‘at the top of his game’ after being singled out for praise by Tony Mowbray as Rovers recorded a fifth consecutive clean sheet for the first time in 24 years.

Mowbray feels Lenihan has flourished under the responsibility of leading the side after taking over the permanent captaincy ever since Elliott Bennett’s departure in the summer.

The Irishman has impressed on the right side of the back three, coming up with a fine pass to claim an assist for Reda Khadra’s goal in the 4-0 win over Birmingham City.

Despite an all-round fine display as Rovers moved third in the table, Mowbray picked out the performance of the 27-year-old as a key component in not only the 4-0 win, but the run of wins and clean sheets.

The Rovers boss said: “I need to mention Lenihan who has the added responsibility of being captain and is standing out like a man mountain.

“I’m delighted for Darragh.

“He’s right at the top of his game, you can tell the way he’s dominating, he’s towering over players inches taller than him, his passing he looks so assured, long passing, short passing. I think he’s got clear pictures in his mind of how we want to play, what his job is.”

Lenihan has married up his defensive traits with the right decision-making on the ball, a combination Mowbray said he often struggled with during his own playing days.

The form Lenihan, Jan Paul van Hecke and Scott Wharton in the back three has been so strong that Daniel Ayala has been unable to force his way back into the side despite returning from an ankle problem.

The Spaniard went unused in the Birmingham win and may well have to be patient for his opportunities given the form of the side and the run of clean sheets.

“Sometimes footballers, I was one, who found it difficult to play with composure but be aggressive and he’s finding that magic combination at the moment.

“I would either go to war and be kicking lumps out of everyone and heading everything, but I found it hard to pick the right pass on those days because I was so wound up.

“Others I would feel like Beckenbauer but then couldn’t win a header, yet Lenihan is putting all the bits together and looking a really special footballer.

“But let’s not forget van Hecke, how brilliant Scotty Wharton has been with his composure, Brereton keeps rolling on and let’s keep going.”

Rovers last kept five consecutive in the 1996/97 season when, under Tony Parkes, they put together a run of six straight shut-outs between Boxing Day 1996 and January 1997.