Jon Dahl Tomasson accepted that Rovers dropped too deep at times in the second half – but says the switch to a back five wasn’t the cause of that – having been denied all three points against Coventry City.

Tomasson said the changes were forced upon him by injuries and tiring bodies before Rovers let slip of their 1-0 lead. Sky Blues goalkeeper Ben Wilson scored a controversial equaliser for the visitors having appeared to handle the ball when forcing it over the line.

Tomasson made three changes ahead of the game, one of which was enforced due to an injury to left back Harry Pickering.

Callum Brittain came in for his first start in eight league games but was one of the players who tired as the second half wore on.

He was replaced as part of a double substitution in the 74th minute, with Sam Gallagher also leaving the field having picked up an injury.

Tyrhys Dolan and Scott Wharton were their replacements, a change which saw Rovers revert to a back five.

Joe Rankin-Costello then had to be replaced as he tired, along with Adam Wharton who was starting for only the second time in 2023, with Sorba Thomas and Tyler Morton introduced 10 minutes later.

It left Rovers with wingers Thomas and Ryan Hedges as wing-backs, with options in those positions running out as Tayo Edun was also sidelined.

Tomasson’s substitutions came under the spotlight of some supporters as Rovers failed to see out the win, but they had restricted the visitors to just one shot on target before the equaliser.

However, the hosts themselves didn’t have an effort on target in the second half, with one of their two in the first half finding the back of the net as Sam Gallagher finished off an excellent move to give them the lead six minutes before the break.

They failed to build on that in the second half however, and were left frustrated by the final whistle as two points slipped through their fingers.

Rovers struggled to get up the pitch after moving to a back five, a system that matched up Coventry who sent on a third striker in Tyler Walker for the closing stages.

On their approach late on, Tomasson said: “We were too deep in some parts of the game, for sure. Of course that wasn’t what we wanted.

“I needed to make some subs regarding players who were not totally fit. You saw that.

“At the end of the day, using the hand with the goal is disappointing.

“I think we should probably go to a back five when you look at the players who were tired and the height of the opponent.

“Of course we shouldn't go deep,  but you can easily press in a 5-3-2 formation. You are allowed to press.”

Tomasson had alluded to ‘question marks’ over the fitness of some players on the eve of the game, with Pickering later ruled out, but Gallagher fit enough to start and Bradley Dack able to return to the bench.

However, Gallagher now looks a doubt for the upcoming games having limped off in the second half having scored his eighth of the season to put them ahead.

With two more games to come in the next week, the issues are mounting for Tomasson, with his squad looking increasingly stretched.

On Gallagher, he added: “I think it’s a little bit too early to say, let’s wait and see when I get the medical (update).

“I needed to make subs, you could see that, different players.

“Let's wait and see, after a game like this it was a tough game and there are some who are always here or there.

“Harry was a doubtful player and there could be some more doubtful players but let’s wait and see before we say everything is bad.”

Rovers had looked set to build a three point cushion over the chasing pack, but that reduced to one after the late equaliser.

It means the Sky Blues kept up their hopes of a top six finish and are on a run of just one defeat in their last 14 matches.

“We shouldn’t forget that Coventry are a good side and a form side, haven’t lost that many games and conceding late was of course disappointing,” Tomasson said.

“A game at this stage, controlling like we did, two different football styles, was good.”