With the same outfield players having started the last six matches Tony Mowbray feels the FA Cup offers those short of minutes the perfect opportunity to get back on the pitch.

Yet with no midweek fixture to follow and the momentum built up by being nine matches unbeaten Mowbray says his team selection will be a balancing act.

Mowbray isn’t one for making wholesale changes in the cup competitions, despite not making it beyond the FA Cup third round in his four attempts as Rovers manager, and will stop short of making wholesale alterations tomorrow.

With Daniel Ayala, Bradley Johnson, Tyrhys Dolan and Sam Gallagher all having had a watching brief in recent weeks, they will likely come into the side against the Latics, while Tayo Edun is set to replace the injured Harry Pickering while a change in goal could see Aynsley Pears replace Thomas Kaminski.

On his selection dilemma, the manager said: “We try and keep the momentum of the team going but you have to try and give your squad some minutes.

“If we pick the same team for four or five games and then two or three drop out, they need to be ready.

“You can’t just throw players in who haven’t played for six or seven weeks and expect them to perform at a level.

“Players needing minutes, they are going to get used, you never know when Covid is going to strike, it could be on the morning of a game.

“You need to be ready at any given time so minutes are really important for the squad.

“The momentum of football is really strong as well so it is a balance.”

Rovers’ priority will be to try and maintain their Championship form that has taken them to second in the table.

Yet Mowbray doesn’t see the FA Cup as a distraction given his appreciation of the competition’s history.

“FA Cup, I say every year when I was growing up that they used to be the biggest matches of the season, culminating in the FA Cup final,” he added.

“It used to feel like a privilege to be watching the FA Cup final with my dad and his mates.

“Times have changed, things have moved on. The honesty of it is, are Blackburn Rovers going to win the FA Cup this year? Probably not, you’d like to have a good run in it because a good run in the FA Cup can keep the confidence and excitement of the fans going, some big days out.

“The important thing is that there’s no replay or midweek game, our next game is the following Saturday so it doesn’t create a backlog of fixtures.”

  • Rovers are winless in their last 11 visits to Wigan and have been involved in some battles along the way.

Tony Mowbray is expecting nothing different in tomorrow’s FA Cup tie where Rovers will be backed by 3,500 travelling fans.

Rovers have lost their two previous visits to the DW Stadium under Mowbray, having drawn 0-0 when the pair were promoted alongside each other from League One.

After financial issues saw them drop back into the third tier, they are riding high again in League One, with Mowbray impressed with how they have bounced back under boss Leam Richardson.

The Latics had all three of their festive fixtures postponed because of Covid in the camps of their opponents but made a winning return to action in the Papa John’s Trophy in midweek, thrashing Oldham Athletic 6-0.

Of tomorrow’s opponents, Mowbray said: “Throughout my time here games between us and Wigan have been close and been competitors with each other.

“In League One we finished first and second in the league, there were really tight, aggressive, edgy games.

“There’s a been a parallel between the two teams.

“They went into administration and had their financial problems but have recovered remarkably well.

“When I look at where they are in the league, the performance levels and some of the players they’ve got, they’ve had quite a recovery in the last year.

“We’re expecting a tough game and I’m sure they will make it difficult for us.”