Rovers’ progress in the cup competitions has been one of the successes of the season to date.

Their run to the last 16 of the Carabao Cup, which included an epic penalty shoot-out win at West Ham United, was their best in a decade, while they ended a five-year wait for a victory in the FA Cup.

Rovers are in round four of the competition for the first time since 2016/17 and will be eyeing further progress when they face Birmingham City tomorrow afternoon.

Head coach Jon Dahl Tomasson made at least nine changes for the four rounds of the league cup, including all XI for the defeat to Nottingham Forest.

There were six alterations for the FA Cup tie with Norwich, helped by the easier schedule Rovers are in the midst of.

Indeed, providing a replay isn’t required, which would take place next Tuesday, Rovers will have a nine-day break until their next Championship fixture against Wigan Athletic.

Aynsley Pears appears likely to start in goal and continue his run of featuring in the cup competitions.

Having missed out on a move to Portsmouth last week, Pears is now likely to see out the season at Ewood Park unless something else materialises in the final days of the window.

Infront of him, Rovers will be without potentially four defenders for the game.

Callum Brittain is back in light training but still some time away from returning from his knee injury, while Dom Hyam is also ruled out and Daniel Ayala is suspended. Clinton Mola also remains a doubt with an ankle issue.

Scott Wharton looks set to keep his place after his recall against Bristol City and will be partnered by either Hayden Carter or Ash Phillips.

Carter could equally play right back, as he did in the last round, and whether Tomasson goes with him or Joe Rankin-Costello is likely to be the call that is made in the back four.

Harry Pickering is expected to keep his place at left back, even though Tayo Edun remains at the club with his prospective loan move to Charlton Athletic having not yet materialised.

In central midfield, Adam Wharton is out with an ankle ligament injury, though positive news from his scan, and the 18-year-old being free of his protective boot, means he will only miss a couple more weeks.

Tyler Morton has been a virtual ever-present in the league games, but was given a rest in the Norwich win.

Lewis Travis is expected to come back into the side, as captain, with a toss-up between Jake Garrett and John Buckley to partner him.

Rovers will be boosted by the return to fitness of Sam Szmodics, who hasn’t featured since the Carabao Cup defeat to Forest last month because of injury.

He may well have to settle for a place on the bench which is extended to nine for the FA Cup.

New loan signing Sorba Thomas will be ineligible having already played in the competition for Huddersfield Town.

Dilan Markanday has also been an ever-present in the cup competitions this season, but wasn’t involved at Bristol City, having made his first Championship appearance of the season the previous week at Rotherham United and felt some muscle tightness in the final training session ahead of the game.

Bradley Dack will be keen to continue his run in the side as he continues to build his match sharpness.

Ben Brereton will want to end his wait for a goal, having not scored since the World Cup break, but Tomasson could use this as a chance to give the 23-year-old a break.

As well as Markanday, Rovers have three other attacking players who will be keen for the chance to impress.

Tyrhys Dolan in particular, on the back of the Thomas loan signing, will be eager to provide a reminder of what he can do having had a frustrating time of things since getting back in the team, and on the scoresheet, in the win at Norwich City on December 17.

Sam Gallagher is now without a goal since the last time Rovers faced Birmingham on October 22, and was left out against Bristol City.

He hasn’t played in any of Rovers’ cup games to date to be preserved for the league games, but Tomasson may well see this as a chance to give him a go in the central striking role.

But Jack Vale will equally want to prove his worth having been preferred to Gallagher at Bristol City.

Vale also scored in the third round win at Norwich, and with Rovers’ continued pursuit of a striker, there would be no better time for him to follow that up with another in round four.

The two extra substitutes could also offer Harry Leonard the chance to be in the 20-man squad, as he was against Norwich.

Predicted team: Pears, Rankin-Costello, Carter, S Wharton, Pickering, Travis, Garrett, Brereton, Dack, Dolan, Gallagher