With Rovers firmly in mid-table, and all but certain to be playing Championship football next season, Tony Mowbray admits their poor form has prevented him from experimenting as much as he would have hoped.

Rovers are 11 points clear of the bottom three ahead of the visit of Stoke City, but have won just once in their last 10 matches. Mowbray had hoped to hand opportunities to more young of the club’s promising youngsters with seven games remaining, but is reluctant to do that given their current form.

While many fans’ thoughts have already turned to next season, Mowbray admits there is still work to do to finish off this campaign and make sure it doesn’t take a bigger downturn.

However, he believes whether or not the perception of the season would change with a poor finish is for other people to decide.

“I think so, I think that’s where we are,” Mowbray said of the inability to experiment more.

“We have to dig really deep. I know we beat Wigan in our last home game, and our home form has been generally good over the last two years, but we went on a run of losing three home games 1-0 to Preston, Middlesbrough and Bristol City. It shows how attritional this league, how difficult it is.

“When you’re on a run, the fine margins, or a little bit of confidence or belief can make a huge difference from winning 1-0, to losing 1-0.

“Those statistics add up and before you know it you can be on a run like we are of one win in 10.

“Mentally it can be damaging on the team. But watching the team, they’re working extremely hard, they’re in every game, it’s a bit frustrating that we’re not turning these really tight games in to points.

“I’m sure if we’re working as hard as we are then it will turn for us.

“I’m sure we’ll finish the season with some decent results, reflect, and then improve and come back refreshed and ready to go again.”

Rovers’ season has taken a disappointing turn since those four consecutive wins in January saw them threaten to the top six.

As to whether this run has affected how the season will be viewed, the boss added: “That’s for other people to decide.

“As a group of players and staff we have to keep working as hard as we can.

“Early season we might have nicked some points when teams were playing pretty well against us.

“We are very much on the same level, I don’t feel as though the level of the team has dropped off. I think the energy of the team is very much the same, yet the results haven’t fallen away.

“It’s difficult to put your finger on why, but we’re not the only team that has had this kind of run.

“Aston Villa have won five on the bounce, yet they had a spell when they won two in 15. Who’s to say we don’t win five of our last seven and finish ninth and everyone goes ‘wow’?

“Yet I’m fully aware of the run we’re having and the difficulty to make the fine margins turn our way so tight defeats might become tight victories.”