MARCUS Antonsson returned to action ahead of schedule and is ready to play a decisive part in Rovers’ push for promotion.

The Swede made his first appearance since December 30 following an ankle injury when coming off the bench in the second half of the 2-0 win over Bury.

He revealed the injury he sustained in the 2-2 draw with Scunthorpe United could have kept him out for up to 12 weeks, but he returned within seven in a big boost to boss Tony Mowbray.

The on-loan Leeds United striker has eight goals this season and made an impact off the bench in the win over the Shakers. And with 13 games of the season to go, the 26-year-old is delighted to back playing again.

“I’m very happy both to be back and the result,” Antonsson said.

“I’ve been working hard the last seven weeks and happy to come back and get the win.

“The specialist said eight to 12 weeks so I’m before the schedule but my foot feels good and I’ve been working hard in the gym with the physios so that has paid off.

“The competition is really hard in every position so we need to be good in training and perform well in the game.”

Rovers added to their attacking options during Antonsson’s absence with the signings of Adam Armstrong and Jack Payne on loan.

Newcastle United loanee Adam Armstrong has four goals in his last three outings, while Huddersfield Town playmaker Payne has impressed with his technical ability.

With players now returning to fitness, Antonsson believes Rovers are well placed in their quest to make it a quick return to the Championship.

But he isn’t taken anything for granted with plenty of hard work remaining for the squad.

He added: “I think they are really good lads who have come in to the group and we’re just getting better and better.

“The competition within the group is so good and it’s really healthy at the moment.

“We’re pushing for more wins.

“The win (against Bury) was the most important thing to put some pressure on Shrewsbury and Wigan.

“I know they have less games played but it’s a lot harder to go out and win games when you have to.

“I think we’ve got a good squad, it’s up to us and we have to be at it on each game.

“If we are then we know that we can beat anyone in this league.

“Every game is really hard in this league, we need to be at it and we were a bit slow starting but after the first goal we could’ve scored a couple more and the three points were important.”

Rovers came through a third game in nine days with seven points to their name and now have back-to-back away games within the next week at Walsall and AFC Wimbledon.

Mowbray is certain to use his squad in the upcoming matches, with Antonsson backing his team-mates to be able to deal with the hectic schedule.

“We have a strong mentality who can handle that,” he said.

“When you win games you just want to play the next one as quickly as possible, confidence is high and I think that’s a good thing.”