Rovers haven’t let their heads drop at any point during their poor run, according to Tony Mowbray, who says ‘it’s their team as much as it is mine’.

Mowbray rang the changes against Derby, handing recalls to Derrick Williams, Lewis Travis, Harrison Reed, Craig Conway and Bradley Dack against the Rams.

And the boss was rewarded with a fine all-round display as Rovers reached the 50 point mark with a comfortable 2-0 win.

Mowbray says the spirit in the camp hasn’t diminished, despite the Derby win being just their second in 12 matches.

He said: “The team are still very much together because I give ownership to the senior players, it’s their team as much as it is mine.

“I’m not a dictatorial manager who tells them they’re rubbish when they get beat. When the win, it’s our team and they are driving each other.

“I feel it in the voices of the senior players, they drive this team, they won’t let this spirit drain out of the club.

“On the run we’ve been on it would have been easy to let their heads drop, but they showed their fighting spirit.

“Against Stoke we showed that, Preston, second half against Middlesbrough, it’s there and they deserved the result they got. So I’m delighted for them.”

Danny Graham was one player to keep his place, getting through 83 minutes before being replaced by Joe Nuttall, who was brought in to the squad in place of Richie Smallwood who dropped out.

Graham’s role, and importance, within the team has grown given Rovers’ failure to add another striker to their ranks in January.

Mowbray will make a decision over whether the 33-year-old will play a third game in a week when Rovers head to Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

On including him against Derby, Mowbray said: “That was a big decision, and potentially another change. I had a good chat with him in my office and he said he feels good. I would have to say he’s as fit as he has been for a long time.

“He’s enjoying his football and his role within the team. He’s a real leader in the top end of the pitch. We try and have a leadership group in the team and they stay strong together.

“The run we’ve been on, the heads haven’t dropped, they have kept going, they are together because the senior players keep the team going.”

The five changes Mowbray made were of little surprise, with Bradley Dack always likely to return, while captain Charlie Mulgrew missed out through injury.

“I have made changes all season. We play a certain way and everyone knows how we play so it doesn’t really matter the personnel I would have to say,” Mowbray said.

“They all know their jobs.

“What I have been trying to do over the last few months is make us a more controlling team, done a lot more ball retention stuff in training.

“Is that a reason we’ve lost a lot of tight games? You can see how effective we have been when we’ve gone direct and worked off Graham, but at the same time the quality teams that get to the top of the league are teams who can control games with the ball, keep it, know when to slow it down.

“We weren’t doing that. We were giving the ball away too much and straight back to the opposition, but I felt we got the balance right (against Derby).

“I thought we were good in possession and played direct in to Graham when we needed to and he kept the ball up the top end of the pitch.”