Rovers reporter Rich Sharpe picks out four talking points from the win at Reading.


Joe Rothwell and Tosin Adarabioyo were pencilled in to start the game for Rovers and the work had been done during the week with them in the starting XI.

For that to change on the day of the game and not just new personnel come in, but a change in formation, to come out of the blocks the way they did was impressive.

They made the pitch wide, with Armstrong and Downing keeping their width and dragging the Reading central defenders in to areas they didn’t want to go.

Then, when change was needed, Rovers were able to turn to Lewis Holtby, Bradley Johnson and Danny Graham, all who had an impact on the game, each having chances to score and being a part of a long keep-ball session to close the game out.

With Adarabioyo and Rothwell not in the 18, the options available to Mowbray appear strong.

He isn’t afraid to make changes, with Johnson not starting for the first time this season, but having more players Mowbray feels can have an impact can only prove to be beneficial.



Fast starts weren’t really Rovers’ thing last season, managing just six goals all season in the first 15 minutes of matches.

But in their eight matches so far, they have managed two goals in the opening 15 minutes (and another in the 18th), and two more in the first 15 minutes of the second half.

They led after eight minutes here through Adam Armstrong’s curling effort, only a second goal since being named Championship player of the month for January.

Dack handed them the perfect start to the second half, scoring just three minutes after the re-start.

Encouragingly, it feels as though two goals should be enough for Rovers to win, something in the past you wouldn’t have been able to say.



Rovers moved to 13 points from their eight points, and given they started the season with back-to-back defeats, it is four wins and a draw from their last six.

Thirteen points at this stage represents their second highest in the Championship since relegation from the Premier League. They also managed the same number at this stage in 2014/15 and bettered only by the 14 in 2012/13.

They are ahead of the 1.5 points a game marker which tends to see a side challenging for a top six spot.

It is now back-to-back wins since the international break, with two victories on the road so far.

Rovers have beaten Hull and Reading on their travels but beaten by Fulham and West Brom.

The Nottingham Forest win in April was their best last season in terms of the league position of the opposition (ninth).

Tougher tests will come on the road this season, and if Rovers are to push towards the top six then they will need more overcome plenty of them on their travels.

But they do look better equipped to mix it away from home this time around.



Corry Evans had made just eight starts in Rovers’ previous 23 Championship fixtures, and not even come off the bench this season, before being handed a chance at Reading.

That came on the back of two Carabao Cup appearances, in which he looked slightly off the pace, but he did catch the eye for Northern Ireland during the international break.

His involvement ended the ever-present record of Bradley Johnson (now held by Walton, Bennett and Dack).

Evans isn’t a player who will catch the eye with thundering tackles, 50-yard passes or goals (as seen by a sliced effort on the volley in the second half) but there is a quiet efficiency about his play.

He doesn’t have the physical presence of Johnson, or the energy of Travis, and his work can be overlooked, but he does the simple things well.

Mowbray was clearly keen on another central midfield, with two failed loan bids on deadline day before the arrival of Lewis Holtby.

That looked to have pushed Evans further down the pecking order, and one missed tackle apart, he looked like he can still have a part to play in this side.