Darragh Lenihan believes more competition for places is the best way for Rovers to progress.

Tony Mowbray has stressed he is keen to add to his defensive ranks this summer after Rovers shipped 69 goals in their 46 Championship fixtures.

That will see pressure on the places of the likes of Lenihan and captain Charlie Mulgrew who have been mainstays of the side since Tony Mowbray took charge in February 2017.

Paul Downing will depart at the end of his current deal, while Jack Rodwell remains in contract talks.

Lenihan knows the 2019/20 campaign will be a big one for Rovers who are keen to improve on their 15th-placed finish this season.

“It’s like every football club and every team in the Championship, if you’re not improving then teams will catch up and move past you,” said Lenihan, who started 34 league games this season.

“You are always striving to get better and better and the manager is always saying that.

“Next year is a big year for us and we know that.”

Lenihan finished the season partnered by Republic of Ireland team-mate Derrick Williams who was preferred to captain Mulgrew who finished the season on the bench after his return from injury.

The 25-year-old was impressed by the performances of Williams, who has played much of his football for Rovers as a left back.

And even before the arrivals, Lenihan believes there are good options available to Mowbray.

He added: “Derrick has done very well.

“He’s had a lot of injuries throughout the season but he’s over them now and done ever so well since he’s come in.

“We both enjoy playing together.

“We have such competition, with Jack Rodwell, Charlie Mulgrew and young Tyler coming through.

“So the competition is going to be tough next season.”