Sam Szmodics and Rovers are a match made in heaven, according to Stoke City boss Alex Neil.

Szmodics was on target over the weekend as Jon Dahl Tomasson’s men ran out 3-0 winners against the Potters.

It was the attacking midfielder’s 11th goal of the campaign and he remains the top scorer in the division, one goal ahead of former Rovers man Adam Armstrong.

"I've watched Szmodics over the years from when he was at Peterborough and actually, we were potentially going to sign him for Preston when he was at Colchester - which is a long time ago now,” said Neil ahead of Saturday’s game.

"He is a good player. He has been very dangerous and this team suits him very well.

“He has certainly carried a big threat this season and they have done that in general too. I think they will score quite a few goals."

Saturday’s result leaves Stoke 16th in the Championship table – four points behind Rovers ahead of a busy December period.

“I think we didn’t defend moments well enough,” Neil admitted after the final whistle.

“When called upon for them to defend, they were strong and denied what could have been good opportunities for us. I thought at times we didn’t do that well enough.

“I think there have been a lot of good things in the last five games and you don’t want, especially at home, to send fans home frustrated, disappointed, angry, upset but ultimately that will be the case.”

He added: “We didn’t move it quickly enough and I thought the biggest difference between us and them was that they had more runners beyond the ball.

“If you look at Szmodics and Dolan, every time the ball turned over, they came to feet and span into space. Every time we did it, we played in front.

“Tyrese Campbell, when he came on, got in behind and down the side on the right two or three times, and that was the difference when we looked more of a threat.”