Tony Mowbray admits John Buckley and Joe Rothwell were unfortunate not to start the weekend defeat at West Brom having made an impact off the bench.

Mowbray turned to the pair at the break against the Baggies as Rovers looked to overturn a first-half deficit.

Rovers improved after their introduction but couldn’t find an equaliser as they went in to the international break after a third defeat in six games.

Rothwell has appeared in all six Championship matches so far, but has started just once, despite an impressive finish to last season. Teenager Buckley is still awaiting his first league start, but has become a regular in the squad and Mowbray says both are pushing hard for inclusion.

“John and Joe were unfortunate not to start the game because of their performance in the cup,” Mowbray revealed.

“I know what they can do and what type of players they are but we had picked up seven points and kept three clean sheets so you have to show some loyalty to the players who achieved those results.

“But each game is different, as I’ve always said, and I just thought we weren’t keeping the ball well enough in the first half and allowed a really good team to have lots of the ball and keep coming at us.

“They made us pay with their possession but I thought we resolved that.

“Moving forward we’ll have to see who gets the places in the team.”

Rothwell and Buckley replaced Bradley Johnson, scorer of Rovers’ second goal at The Hawthorns, and Sam Gallagher who started the game as the central striker.

That saw Bradley Dack deployed in a false No.9 role that he occupied in the same fixture last season.

Johnson had played every single minute of Championship football for Rovers until his substitution at the break, while Gallagher had completed 90 minutes in all but one game before that.

However, Mowbray revealed the changes were both tactical, with no injury to either player, as he looked for Rovers to get more of a foothold in the game.

He added: “The changes at half-time weren’t enforced due to injury, they were tactical alterations I made in order to try and get ourselves back in contention in the second-half.

“The team needed changing, I needed to change the formation of the team.

“I needed to get some more footballers on to the pitch who’d be brave on the ball and there were some pretty tough decisions with Bradley and Sam at half-time.

“The subs helped the team.”