Tony Mowbray says unavailability issues are difficulties Rovers will have to overcome as they face being without seven first-team players for the visit of league leaders Leeds United.

The Rovers boss says left back remains ‘an issue’ with Derrick Williams, Amari’i Bell and Joe Rankin-Costello all unavailable through injury, while in midfield Corry Evans is already ruled out and Lewis Travis facing a race to be fit.

Darragh Lenihan will return to the fold after missing the midweek defeat at Barnsley for family reasons, but Ben Brereton will serve the first of a three-match suspension, with Bradley Dack a longer-term concern.

“The difficulty is that the team is changing every week. We have what I would call seven starters unavailable,” Mowbray said.

“But you don’t want to make excuses when you have players unavailable, you have a squad of players and you have to try and win football matches.

“We have to live with it, it’s a big challenge for us and let’s see if we can upset the odds against Leeds.”

Rovers have used a 4-3-3 formation in each of their three matches so far, with Mowbray this week stating he sees the control it allows as key for his side to try and get out of the division.

However, the midfield which made it so effective in the win over Bristol City has since been unavailable to him, with Evans suffering a broken toe and Travis picking up a knee problem at Wigan.

Travis and Lenihan were two enfoced changes in midweek, the same number Mowbray was forced to make at Wigan with Evans and Rankin-Costello ruled out of the Wigan game.

“Corry Evans had just come back against Bristol City, was man-of-the-match in that game and then broke his toe in that game,” Mowbray added.

“Lewis Travis who’s practically been an ever present for us has nicked his medial knee ligament injury.

“So the midfield that dominated against Bristol City, those two players aren’t available.

“Our top scorer in recent seasons, Bradley Dack, has been unavailable for quite a while, Darragh Lenihan had a family issue this week, so all of sudden four really important players aren’t playing.

“The fine margins of winning and losing are always there, when you lose it burns on your brain, ‘if we’d have had him we could have done this’. That’s football. Generally with your best players and your best team you will win football matches.

“Sometimes when you are a bit light the fine margins seem to go the other way.”

Rovers included Jack Vale in their matchday squad at Barnsley, his first involvement with the senior side, to fill the bench at Oakwell.

Elliott Bennett again filled in at left back, while Charlie Mulgrew made his first appearance since the opening day with Rovers short of options at centre half.

“We’ve got decisions to make at both ends of the pitch with strikers, defenders, the left full back position is a real issue for us at the moment,” the manager added.

“We’ve got a few problems but I try not to make too big an issue of it, but every day it is an issue because I come in every morning and get the medical report of who’s going to be on the grass, who’s no chance, who might put their boots on, they’re all there every day.

“But if you haven’t played for weeks then it’s unlikely I’m going to throw them straight in and play against the team at the top of the division.”