ROVERS captain Charlie Mulgrew welcomed the return of central defensive partner Darragh Lenihan, but says the contribution of Paul Downing shouldn’t be forgotten.

Downing was drafted in, initially on loan from MK Dons, on transfer deadline day in August and lost just once in his 25 Rovers outings, penning a permanent deal in January.

The 26-year-old has since lost his place on Lenihan’s return from long-term injury, but Mulgrew was quick to point out how well the former Walsall man had done in his absence.

He said: “It’s great to have him back but we can’t forget Paul Downing. He has done a great job and we kept a lot of clean sheets with him in the team.

“Darragh is a great player, it’s like a new signing and we’re happy to have him back.”

Lenihan has made a seamless return alongside Mulgrew, playing as part of back a central defensive pairing as well as in a back three. And the Scot, who turns 32 today, says Rovers’ ability to switch between formations is down to their preparations.

He added: “The manager does a lot of work on the training pitch and that’s down to him.

“He lets everyone know their job exactly and we’re thankful for that and the most important thing is that we’re picking up the points and long may it continue.

“We need to find a way of winning games and making sure we come out on the right side of the result more often than not and we’ve done that.”