Rovers boss Tony Mowbray has hailed Stewart Downing as a 'shining light' for the squad ahead of this weekend's FA Cup clash with Birmingham City.
Since signing on a free transfer from Middlesbrough in the summer, the 35-year-old former England international has been a regular in the side in a variety of midfield roles and left back.
He's shown his class in his 24 outings in all competitions for Rovers and has already bettered his tally of goals from last term by bagging three in blue-and-white, the latest of which came against Nottingham Forest on New Year's Day.
And ahead of a return to the second city for the ex-Aston Villa schemer, Mowbray has heaped praise on the experienced midfield maestro.
“I’ve just seen him at the breakfast table and asked him how he is and he smiled at me and said ‘I feel great gaffer’," the boss told iFollow Rovers when discussing the former West Ham man's possible involvement in the cup.
“He trains every day, he never uses anything as an excuse, he keeps going.
“I think he’s a shining light for anybody really. I sat there and watched his performance at Nottingham Forest and by a million miles he was the best player on the pitch.
“The game just seems to slow down into slow motion when he has the ball, as if he can do what he wants and take as much time as he wants with it and then he picks the right pass just about every time.
“I leave those decisions down to Stewart really. How are you feeling? ‘I feel great gaffer’ was his response this morning, so let’s wait and see whether we fit him in the team and where we fit him in the team, because he’s shown his versatility over recent weeks.
“He can play at left full-back, midfield, number 10. He can play anywhere really.”