With five of Rovers’ next seven matches on the road, Tony Mowbray knows tough tests lie ahead for his side as they return to Championship action.

The postponement of the Boxing Day fixture meant Rovers had three successive home matches to end 2021 and start the New Year but next week’s re-arranged clash means Mowbray’s men will be on their travels a lot.

Trips to Cardiff City, Hull, Luton Town, Swansea City, West Brom and Sheffield United all come in the space of six weeks, with home games against Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest also in the mix.

Rovers then start March with a trip to Fulham whose 7-0 win at Ewood inspired the turnaround in fortunes.

A nine-match unbeaten run since has taken Rovers into automatic promotion contention, but Mowbray knows their credentials will be tested in the upcoming period.

With the ever-present threat of Covid absences and injuries, Mowbray is looking to guard against both with additions in the January transfer window.

Rovers’ schedule has allowed plenty of recovery time and whether by fortune or good practice, they have largely stayed away from any Covid-related issues.

A six game winning streak was ended with a 0-0 draw on January 2 with Huddersfield Town, while Rovers exited the FA Cup at the third round stage for the fifth successive year with defeat at Wigan Athletic on Saturday.

Attentions quickly turn to the league campaign once again, and Mowbray said: “It’s really hard in this division to win six games in a row, unless you are a Fulham running away with the league or Bournemouth, but they have had their own difficulties over the last month or two which has brought the league closer.

“The team are pretty confident, it’s good that we’ve managed to stay away from Covid and when you can keep a consistent team and their confidence is high then we feel we can compete with any team in the division.

“We’re coming into a spell where five of the next seven games are away from home.

“To play any team in the Championship away from home is difficult, yet we’ve been away at Bournemouth and won, Stoke and won, Forest and won.

“We feel we can go anywhere and win and give everyone a game.”

Player welfare has been a topic that has dominated the headlines in recent times, with a string of postponements across the Premier League and EFL only adding to the intense nature of the schedule.

Rovers have so far only had one postponement, while early exits from both the Carabao Cup and FA Cup will ensure a full focus on the league programme.

Mowbray would be happy with a return to the idea of five substitutes, despite accepting the benefits to clubs with the biggest squad.

“As has been said, we all know the schedule, it is there in front of us,” he added.

“You all get injuries, Covid has to have an impact, I think there is a genuine debate to be had about five substitutes.

“If we are talking about player welfare then why wouldn’t you be able to?

“I know I’m constantly picking players hoping that the niggle in their hamstring doesn’t become a tear and is out for eight weeks, or the ankle that’s heavily strapped they don’t go out over it and is out for eight weeks.

“I think more substitutes does help – but I understand that it helps the teams with the bigger budgets."