Rovers’ latest bid to make it beyond the FA Cup third round comes at Wigan Athletic this weekend.

It will be attempt number five under Tony Mowbray to make it beyond the third round having exited at this stage in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

That could give the impression that it isn’t a competition of much significance to the Rovers manager, however, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

A traditionalist, Mowbray understands and appreciates the rich history of the competition, re-telling stories of watching the FA Cup final with his dad and his friends in the front room of his childhood Teesside home.

As a manager he has previously enjoyed success, taking West Bromwich Albion to the semi-finals in 2008, the same year they won promotion to the Premier League.

And his team selections in his time at Rovers have never seen wholesale changes.

Rovers have won FA Cup matches under Mowbray having entered the competition at the first round stage when a League One side in 2017/18.

With FA Cup replays against Crewe Alexandra and Newcastle United, they have played eight ties under Mowbray.

Across those he has made 39 changes at an average of just under five.

The big decision for Mowbray this weekend will be whether to stick with the majority of the side who have helped Rovers to a nine game unbeaten run, or to switch things around in order to hand opportunities to those who have been short of minutes while offering rest to the first-team regulars.

On the one hand you have maintaining momentum, on the other fear of losing key players.

Last season Rovers were knocked out by League One opposition, like they face this weekend, having made six changes.

The visit of Doncaster saw Mowbray opt to switch goalkeepers, as Aynsley Pears came in for Thomas Kaminski while Bradley Dack was given valuable minutes as part of his injury comeback. The other four to come in were John Buckley, Tom Trybull, Stewart Downing and Tyrhys Dolan.

In 2020, for the trip to Birmingham City, there were only three changes. A switch in goal saw Jayson Leutwiler come in for Christian Walton, while Bradley Johnson and Sam Gallagher were others to come into the side.

In the one meeting with Premier League opposition, Mowbray made only one change for the third round tie at Newcastle United in 2019, while for the replay, injury and illness forced a switch in shape to a back three and with it four changes.

The most changes made by Mowbray came during the League One campaign. There were six for the game against Barnet, though key men Charlie Mulgrew, Bradley Dack and Danny Graham all kept their places.

There were seven alterations for both of the games with Crewe Alexandra and then five for the eventual defeat to Hull City in round three which again included a change in goal.

Rovers have had little success either in the league cup, not getting beyond the third round either, but changes have often been minimal as well.

For the Morecambe tie in August only Daniel Ayala and Sam Gallagher, who went into the season with fitness doubts, missed out from the opening day win over Swansea City.

Last season against Doncaster Mowbray went with his strongest available side, while only two changes were made for the defeat to Newcastle.

The only time wholesale changes have been made came in the EFL Cup win over Oldham in August 2019, when the whole XI was switched up, while eight players came into the side for the defeat at Sheffield United.

Across his 26 FA Cup and league cup matches as Rovers boss Mowbray has made 124 changes at an average of 4.76.

Pears would likely be one this weekend, while Tayo Edun coming in for the injured Harry Pickering would also be expected.

Ayala, Johnson, Dolan and Gallagher are others who will be keen to get their chance, so Mowbray may well go above that average this weekend.

Don’t expect wholesale changes, history has taught us that. Yet never have Rovers gone into the FA Cup third round sitting second in the Championship.