Bradley Dack still has some way to go to be in a position to start a league match.

That’s the view of Tony Mowbray who handed Dack a first start, albeit in an FA Cup tie, for 383 days in the weekend defeat to Doncaster.

Dack played 73 minutes of the 1-0 defeat having played a combined 78 across a combined three substitute appearances since making his return against Sheffield Wednesday on Boxing Day.

The 27-year-old scored in the win at Birmingham City and was then handed his chance from the start in a bid to boost his match minutes, having played just two halves of Under-23s football before his first-team return following his cruciate knee ligament injury.

And Mowbray says the team, rather than Dack’s fitness, is his biggest concern, but he could look to in-house matches this month to help get him up to speed as quickly as possible.

“He needs minutes on the pitch, but this isn’t about Bradley Dack, it’s about Blackburn Rovers trying to win football matches,” Mowbray said of Dack.

“Bradley will work as hard as he can every day in training, we’ll try and put a few games on in house for him to try and get proper match minutes.

“He needs time to get match fit again because he can run all day, we can put him on the grass and make him run.

“Ultimately the games are what gets you fit and he’s at the point now where he’s getting game-time and this was an opportunity to start him and give him more than the 30 minutes a sub might get, which is what he got.

“Somewhere down the line he’ll be back and I won’t be assessing his fitness, I’ll just be happy to have him back because I do believe he makes a big difference to this group with his ability, weight of pass, finishing, they all make a difference.”

Lewis Travis, like Dack, is working his way back from injury and has started the last two matches.

Mowbray says it could still be weeks before Dack is named in a starting line-up however, but his impact off the bench is one Rovers will continue to utilise in the coming weeks.

He passed up an excellent chance to equalise against Doncaster, denied by a flying Ellery Balcombe stop as he followed up a Harvey Elliott shot as he looked to make it goals in back-to-back games.

That was his last action of the match, before being replaced at the end of a mixed afternoon that saw him operate in a false nine role.

Rovers have just one midweek game in January, that coming against Swansea City next Tuesday, offering up the possibility of Rovers arranging a behind closed doors fixture at Brockhall.

“Bradley Dack maybe should have scored, but it’s obvious to me that he’s not anywhere near his peak and his maximum,” Mowbray explained.

“He has to do the hard yards and the balance will be when we get him those hard yards in, the running, the work, the match fitness.

“You can’t jeopardise the team because you want to get Bradley fit, you sit him on the bench and give him half an hour, and he can play some Under-23s games and you have to build it up bit by bit.

“He’s been out a whole year and it’s not right to burden him with having to score the goals that we know he can.”