Charlie Mulgrew said he had to be realistic over the timescale of his return to the side after a first appearance in a month.

The Rovers skipper made his 100th Rovers appearance in the 1-0 defeat to Bristol City having not played since the FA Cup tie with Newcastle on January 5.

A hamstring injury had sidelined Mulgrew, with boss Tony Mowbray giving him a full week training before thrusting him back in to the action.

His return coincided with an injury to Darragh Lenihan who is set to miss up to eight weeks with a medial knee ligament problem.

“I think it was the right decision to leave it another week,” Mulgrew said after not travelling to Brentford.

“We have three games in a week and I think waiting will have saved me from injuring myself again.

“(My return) has worked out well, but we’d rather have Darragh and everyone else fit.

“Hopefully we can continue to pick up the good form when Darragh was fit.

“I wanted to be out there but I’d only trained for two days so I had to be realistic and it would have been a big jump to go straight back in and get to the intensity and distance.”

Mulgrew partnered Jack Rodwell in the centre of the Rovers defence who were beaten by an 80th minute goal from Bristol City full back Eros Pisano.

That separated what was a tight game as Rovers suffered just a third home league defeat of the season.

The 33-year-old felt Rovers were very much in the game, adding: “I felt being out there we had the better chances and were going to go on and win the game.

“To concede a goal in that manner is disappointing. It’s something we work hard and pride ourselves on. Conceding from a set piece is disappointing.

“Any defeat is tough, but there are positives to take, to hold them out and not give them much of a sniff and have the better chances. We weren’t clinical and didn’t take our chances.

“That’s how it felt out there, we had good opportunities in good areas, so it’s difficult to take but we have to pick ourselves up and go again on Wednesday.

“We will look at it before the Reading game and look to put it right.”

Rovers travel to the Madejski Stadium to face third bottom Reading on Wednesday, before hosting Middlesbrough in front of the Sky cameras on Sunday at Ewood.

And Mulgrew added: “They are games we are looking forward to and we need to put this game behind us and look forward as quickly as we can.”

The Scotland international missed four league games, as well as the FA Cup third round replay defeat to Newcastle, before making his return.

His return was particularly timely given Lenihan’s injury, with Rovers having also allowed Paul Downing to leave on loan last month.

“It was nice to have those butterflies again to be playing Saturday football and now I need to keep going,” Mulgrew said.

“It takes a bit of getting used to coming back in to the game but I felt we were quite solid and didn’t give them much.

“The least we should have got was a 0-0.”