Win or lose, Tony Mowbray admits nothing can stir emotions quite like the reaction of supporters.

The frustration and disappointment at Rovers’ midweek defeat at Barnsley was instead left to social media, rather than the stands at Oakwell where Mowbray and his players would likely have been confronted with angry supporters as they made their way to the tunnel.

But rather than face the wrath of their supporters housed in the away end, it was a slow trudge off the pitch for the Rovers players, left to reflect on back-to-back defeats on the road.

Equally, Mowbray says the positive emotions created by that winning feeling, accompanied by an Elliott Bennett fist pump, aren’t there either – just some of the things missing given the position the game finds itself in.

Creating the same intensity has been hard at times, Mowbray explaining the fact his players had to travel independently to South Yorkshire and trudge out in to an empty stadium from a separate tunnel to their opponents, didn’t make for ideal preparations.

And while the 90 minutes may have a practice match feel, Mowbray says the end result of three points, and being judged on that, brings home the reality of the situation. But he’s quite clear that fans add to the spectacle, and to the emotion surrounding the games.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. Football is about the people, football only exists for the fans. We’re all fans,” he explained.

“I’m in a fortunate position where I manage a team, you’re (press) in a fortunate position where you can sit and watch it and have an opinion on it, football is about the people.

“You play for the people, life revolves around communities and people who care.

“Everyone has an opinion, everyone is emotionally wrapped up in their football clubs.

“For footballers to go and play and turn up in your own car at Barnsley, hoping everyone can get there, no accidents, everyone can get parked and arrives okay, and then to go out with nothing in the stadium, almost wander on to the pitch, it doesn’t feel right.

“It should be a procession, it should be about putting your shirt on, being together, the roar of the crowd at kick-off.

“When the crowd erupts at the referee’s whistle, they’re ready, they’re up for the match. It’s all a bit practice match on the training ground feel, yet the points are still there.

“You try and use words to give your players a cause to fight for, the whistle blows and it echoes in an empty stadium and it feels almost like a practice match.

“Yet we all get there’s points or no points. There’s a hugely different feel and something we’ve never experienced before.”

The Championship is set to be the only EFL league to complete its full fixture list, with six more rounds of the regular campaign left before the play-offs.

Under more normal circumstances Rovers would today be preparing to face a Leeds United side backed by 7,500 fans packed in to the Darwen End, and for Ewood Park’s biggest crowd of the season.

It would be an undoubted spectacle, and with Rovers the underdog against the league leaders, Mowbray says that could well have an impact on proceedings.

When Rovers beat Leeds at their headquarters in October 2018 it was one of the best atmospheres Ewood had experienced for some time.

But while Mowbray doesn’t see the current situation as ideal, or preferable, he admits it’s a means to an end in getting the season finished, one Rovers are hoping won’t fizzle out, sitting five points outside the play-off spots with six games remaining.

“I don’t think any of the football people think it’s normal, it’s not enjoyable,” Mowbray added.

“Football is enjoyable when you win games of course, but it almost compounds it when you don’t win a game.

“The experience that would have been at Barnsley, walking back to your own fans with a defeat, it riles your inners when you have to deal with the frustration of your own supporters.

“Or if you win and you’re walking to them and they’re joyous and cheering then it makes you see how much it means to people. You win and lose for them.

“That’s not there at the moment but we have to keep going.

“When it was decided that we were going to finish the season it was to get promotion and relegation sorted, everything in between is a matter of getting to the end goal.

“We have to finish that process in the next three weeks.”

Rovers face the top two in the division at home over the course of the next week with a trip to sixth-placed Cardiff City coming between them. And despite potentially being without a number of key players, Mowbray says his players will give everything to the cause.

He added: “The challenge is there for us but I always feel that we give Leeds a tough game to the point where we managed to beat them at home.

“They would have sold 7,500 behind the goal.

“It will be tough for us without our crowd roaring us on but we will give it our best shot and we know we can give everyone in this league a tough game.”