Bradley Dack sustained an injury when coming out to warm-up at half time which ended his hopes of featuring off the bench in the defeat to Stoke City.

Tony Mowbray revealed Dack ‘jarred his back’ as he made his way onto the pitch at half time, with the manager having planned to introduce him at the break.

Instead, Rovers turned to Joe Rothwell as they moved to a back four, with Jan Paul van Hecke the man to be replaced, as Mowbray’s side once again found themselves trailing at the break.

They made a half time change for the fourth time in six games, though Mowbray said some of those decisions were down to wanting to get Dack on the pitch, rather than a reflection of his team’s performance.

Three times Dack had been brought off the bench for the second half, with six substitute appearances in all made since returning from a second long-term knee injury.

Dack scored within 15 seconds of his introduction against Coventry City earlier this month, his 50th goal for the club, but his minutes continue to be managed with Rovers keen not to over-burden him after two serious injury lay-offs.

The 28-year-old didn’t emerge from the dugout to warm up during the second half, with Rovers instead turning to Joe Rothwell at half time, John Buckley on the hour mark and Ryan Hedges for the closing stages as their three substitutes.

Rothwell was back in the squad after illness ruled him out of the trip to Peterborough United, and he was the player introduced for the second half as Rovers moved to a back four.

It was a system that Mowbray felt he should have started with in hindsight, as Rovers looked much more threatening with an extra attacker on the pitch.

While Mowbray felt the first half display was a combination of good play from the visitors and Rovers lacking confidence, he says the number of alterations at the break are an indication of wanting to get Dack minutes as much as they are a reflection of his feeling at the first half performance.

He said: “I’m really trying to get Dack back up to speed for this football club, that’s why I’ve made changes at half time, not always because of the performance of the team.

“Yet Dack didn’t come on because he got injured warming himself up at half time.

“Rothwell has been ill, so couldn’t start. We wanted to know if he could sit on the bench because he’s not been eating or drank and lost a lot of fluid over the last couple of days.

“We asked him to sit on the bench and he came on and made a difference second half, someone who could pass the ball to a blue and white shirt.

“We were a lot better second half but it’s all about the results at this stage of the season and we couldn’t find a way to score and didn’t get any points.”

Rovers were again without on-loan Brighton attacker Reda Khadra.

He missed a fourth consecutive match with a calf injury sustained at Reading before the international break.

The 20-year-old, who was forced to withdraw from the Germany Under-21s squad last month, hasn’t trained since, but Rovers hope that will change in advance of the trip to Preston North End on Monday night, to give the attacker a chance of featuring.

“I feel as though we’re missing the real creativity in the team,” Mowbray said.

“Khadra and Poveda are individuals who when you give them the ball they dance past people and create opportunities and space in the box.”

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