Tony Mowbray feels fresh faces are essential in the January transfer window in order to strengthen his squad amid the threat of coronavirus.

Mowbray says the protocols in place, but also fortune, have ensured Rovers have stayed free from an outbreak but feels it is inevitable they will have cases within the camp in the coming weeks.

As a result Mowbray says he is looking for new additions this month, with numbers lighter because of an injury to Leeds United loanee Ian Poveda while midfielder Leighton Clarkson has returned to his parent club after making only seven appearances in the first half of the season.

Keeping the squad together is key, but equally Mowbray believes adding greater depth will be just as important as Rovers aim to continue mounting a promotion challenge.

Asked if he would be happy were the window to close with his options as they are, he said: “No, not really, not in the Covid world we’re living in.

“Good protocols, fortunate, whatever it is, I feel there’s an inevitability that it’s coming somewhere down the road because generally we have avoided it apart from the odd one or two.

“You hear of clubs with 20 players out, is that coming for us? I hope not.

“What I do know is that this weekend you can have nine substitutes, you can play five, and we’ll be digging pretty deep into the Under-23s squad to try and fill that bench.

“It feels a little bit light.

“I’m more happy with (Daniel) Ayala not being able to get a game at the moment, or Sam Gallagher not being in the starting line-up, knowing that we have men behind men to do a job.

“But as a coach you’d like five or six of those experienced players ready to do the job.

“Bradley Johnson fits into that category too of someone who can’t get in the team at the moment but can come in and do the job.

“I feel nine substitutes we’re going to be digging well into the Under-23s to fill the bench.”

Rovers will resist bids for their key players this month with incomings the biggest focus for Mowbray.

“I think the club are staying strong. Our supporters wouldn’t expect us to break this team up and we need to stay strong if we can,” he added.

“As I’ve always said that if there are unbelievable offers for a player and they’re knocking on the manager’s door saying they want to go, but those bids haven’t come in so we get on with it and rebuff any bids that come and prepare for the next game.”

Ryan Nyambe, Darragh Lenihan and Joe Rothwell have been instrumental in the recent run of form but all three are out of contract in the summer.

Despite extensive talks there has been no breakthrough, yet crucially performances on the pitch haven’t been affected.

And there have been no requests from any player to leave the club this month.

“No, and the performances of the team suggest that they don’t see that at the moment,” Mowbray said.

“Why wouldn’t they want to see how far they can go this season?

“If we can competing as we have in the first half of the season then we won’t be too far away.

“If we can keep them together, keep the majority of them fit, then I don’t see why we can’t stay strong.”