Report: Derby County 2 Rovers 0
Substitute Darren Bent netted a second-half double as Derby County defeated an injury-ravaged Rovers 2-0 at the iPro Stadium.
The striker - on loan from Aston Villa - proved his Premier League class with two goals - the first of which coming just five minutes after his introduction and the second in added time.
Rovers were hindered by injuries sustained to Tom Cairney, Rudy Gestede and Grant Hanley in a game of few chances.
Craig Conway had the best chance for Rovers in the opening exchanges with a dipping volley, but Gary Bowyer's side failed to reach the heights of Saturday's FA Cup victory over Swansea City.
Bent proved the difference with a second-half cameo - his two simple tap-ins consigning Rovers to defeat.
Boss Bowyer made five changes to the side that beat Swansea at the weekend.
Jason Steele, Hanley, Alex Baptiste, Corry Evans and Ben Marshall all returned to the starting line-up, whilst Simon Eastwood, Adam Henley, Shane Duffy, Lee Williamson and Chris Taylor were the unfortunate players to miss out.
Rovers, sporting their turbo green away strip, started the match with Marshall behind lone striker Josh King, with Conway on the left and Cairney wide right.
Derby midfielder Will Hughes had the opening attempt on goal after five minutes with a fierce effort from the edge of the box that flew past Steele's right-hand post.
Rovers' first half-chance of the match fell to Evans, but his effort from 20 yards was blocked after a cut back from the right from King.
Jamie Ward went close for the hosts on 19 minutes after finding space on the edge of the box, but blasted a wild strike over the bar.
Fancy footwork from Jeff Hendrick on the left saw the ball fall to Simon Dawkins, but his strike on the half-hour mark, just inside the area, was also well over.
Rovers had their best chance of the first half shortly before the break when a cross from the right was cleared only as far as Conway and his dipping volley was kept out by Lee Grant in the Derby goal.
Gestede was introduced on the stroke of half-time, replacing Cairney, and almost made an immediate impact, flicking a cross on to King, who fired over, albeit from an offside position.
Derby picked up the pace after the break, but it was Rovers who fashioned the first effort - Hanley finding himself in an advanced position after Gestede had flicked on a Conway free-kick, but his strike from the angle was wide.
Derby hit back with a chance of their own, Steele saving well from Richard Keogh's snap-shot from six yards.
There was bad news for Rovers as Gestede's evening was cut short as he limped off to be replaced by fellow striker Chris Brown just past the hour mark.
The Rams eventually broke the deadlock on 68 minutes after a corner from the right was flicked on at the near post and forced home from five yards by substitute Bent.
The visitors almost hit back moments later when Brown played in King and the ball fell kindly for Evans to advance, but his shot was deflected narrowly wide.
Rovers pushed for an equaliser as Brown's left-foot effort forced a superb save from Grant, who tipped the ball wide of the post.
The game began to open up and Derby raced up to the other end through Hughes, who set up Chris Martin, but his strike was deflected behind for a corner, before Steele was forced into another decent save from the Rams' hitman.
With Rovers forced to throw bodies forward, Derby wrapped up the points in injury time when Mason Bennett raced cleared down the left and squared to Martin, and although Steele saved the initial effort, Bent was on hand to tap in his second of the evening.
DERBY COUNTY: Grant, Shotton, Keogh (c), Buxton, Forsyth, Hendrick, Mascarell, Hughes, Ward (Bennett 86), Dawkins (Bent 63), Martin.
Subs not used: Roos, Christie, Bryson, Warnock, Albentosa.
Booked: Ward, Hughes.
Goals: Bent (68, 90+3)
ROVERS: Steele, Baptiste, Hanley (c) (Rhodes 77), Kilgallon, Olsson, Cairney (Gestede 43 (Brown 64)), Lowe, Evans, Conway, Marshall, King.
Subs not used: Eastwood, Duffy, Williamson, Taylor.
Booked: Olsson, Conway.