Tony Mowbray believes Rovers are a work in progress in their first season back in the Championship and will only improve with time.

Rovers are four points behind today’s sixth-placed visitors Bristol City and had won four matches in a row before a 5-2 defeat at Brentford last weekend.

Mowbray’s side have now conceded the joint-most goals away from home in the division, but have been strong at home as they eye a fourth consecutive victory at Ewood Park this afternoon.

“This team is a work in progress. I think anyone who is over-critical of us is a bit harsh coming from where we have,” Mowbray said.

“I think the team have achieved some pretty good things this year.

“As you move forward together we will get stronger, cleverer, know how to shut games out and know how many men to gamble forward with a one goal deficit, and if it does become a two or three goal deficit, sometimes you make sure you don’t go four or five goals down.

“They are all the learning processes of a team that’s learning as we along.”

Rovers conceded five goals for the first time in the league since relegation from the Premier League, and shipped more than once in nine of their 15 away matches.

Mowbray has backed his side to respond to the heavy defeat, despite coming up against a Bristol City who have won each of their last seven matches.

And while the boss doesn’t see a major concern with the goals against column, he admitted: “We have to work on the psychological effect of goals against. Leeds United away, psychologically we went from winning 2-1 to losing two goals within a minute.

“At the weekend, it was 73 minutes on the clock and it was 2-2, then it just runs away from us.

“I don’t see a major problem. The only statistics that matter at the end of a season are how many points you get and where you finish.

“If it was a problem that really needed addressing, and we needed to be more defensive, we would have done that, but I don’t think that’s the case.

“We have been in just about every game we’ve played this year, the odd one has ran away from us and we’ve lost four or five goals, too often and it can be damaging.

“Thankfully for this team they have generally managed to get a good result on the back of a defeat and that’s what we’ll be hoping for this week.”

Mowbray believes his principles of pushing men forward in the latter stages of matches when trailing has contributed to the goals against column, and given a slanted look to the statistics.

He added: “What jumps out at me is that out of the 15 games we’ve played, the vast majority of those goals have been in four or five games.

“They have been games of a type that have ran away from us in the final 15 minutes of games. I would suggest we’ve conceded an extra two at Bristol City, two at Leeds, two at the weekend.

“I can’t remember any game this season when we have been battered for 90 minutes and lost four or five goals.

“If we were getting battered 3-0 every week then it would be more concerning.

“We seem to have been in games, but they have run away from us trying to get back in to it.

“You still get zero points for a 1-0 or 2-1 defeat, you could argue if it’s tight, and it is tight, then goal difference could be worth a point and you might be three or four places higher in the table.

“Over 46 games you finish where you finish with the points you accrue, rather than your goal difference. I hope that doesn’t come back to bite me on the backside but I think sometimes we go to try and get ourselves a goal and have left ourselves vulnerable.

“The scores can look a bit distorted, last Saturday wasn’t a 5-2 drubbing, Bristol City wasn’t a 4-1 defeat, but it’s there, it’s in the history books. But the games themselves were much closer.”