Sam Szmodics will be back in the Rovers squad for the first time in a month – but Dilan Markanday won’t be available for the FA Cup tie with Birmingham City.

Jon Dahl Tomasson has also confirmed that Ben Brereton will be in the starting line-up for the fourth round tie.

Szmodics has missed the last six matches with a muscle injury but has since returned to training.

The 27-year-old will be in contention to feature against Blues as Rovers look to progress beyond round four for the first time since 2016/17.

Markanday has featured in all five cup games to date, and made his Championship debut in the defeat to Rotherham United earlier this month.

However, he wasn’t included in the squad at Bristol City and will be unavailable again for this weekend.

“With Dilan, it’s going better,” Tomasson said.

“He’s more or less ready to go again, he’s out on the pitch, so he’s almost there but we don’t want to take the risk.

“Sam Szmodics back. He’s got injured on December 25 so has been out for a few weeks.

“He trained more or less the last week so it’s great to have him back and he can be back involved.”

Rovers return to Ewood for the first time since New Year’s Day after three successive away games, including the round three win at Norwich City.

“We have played three away games in a short period so we’re looking forward to getting back to Ewood,” the head coach said.

“We have a great journey in the cups so far so hopefully we can have another nice success again.

“It’s great to be back at Ewood where we’ve had a lot of great victories with our fans so far.

“We’ve had three away games in a row, and being back at home, instead of having another away game, is good.”

Rovers face a Birmingham side who they beat 2-1 at Ewood earlier in the season.

That was largely down to an inspired goalkeeping performance from Thomas Kaminski in the second half.

Reflecting on that game, Tomasson said: “If you look back at the game I think they’ve been in the best team at Ewood so far.

“They played a brilliant game, but we won it, and after that they haven’t been in the best period.

“We’ve had a great cup run, winning four times in the cup, losing one game, beating West Ham as well.

“We’re enjoying the cup runs and we don’t want it to end, we want to go on.

Rovers will hope to be in the hat for Monday’s draw, but would like to avoid a replay if possible.

That would come on Tuesday at St Andrew’s, clashing with transfer deadline day.

“Let’s win the game, instead of travelling on Tuesday to Birmingham!,” Tomasson said.