Tony Mowbray believes Rovers are set to face a very different Middlesbrough side to the one that visited Ewood Park earlier this season.
A penalty from ex-Middlesbrough man Danny Graham proved to be the difference between the two teams back in August, as Jonathan Woodgate’s side struggled for form during the early stages of the season.
However, a run of positive results at the Riverside, coupled with a four-match winning streak in December, has propelled the Teessiders towards mid-table.
Mowbray is expecting a tough test this Saturday, but insists Rovers should take confidence from the team’s last away trip – a stunning 5-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday.
“They’re quite different I would suggest,” said the Rovers boss.
“There’s some younger players in the team now. There’s still some experience of course, but Jonathan (Woodgate) has had to change a few things around.
“He’s searched for the answer really and through December they found a way to win a lot of football games back-to-back, which propelled them up the table from a pretty perilous position to comfortably sitting in mid-table.
“I think they might have lost one or two on the back of that amazing run that they had, but they’ve done great to get themselves out of some trouble.
“Their record at home is very, very strong. I think they’re nine unbeaten at home now, so it reflects how tough this game is going to be.
“They’re a difficult nut to crack at the Riverside, but it’s a game that we’re looking forward to. We should try and take the confidence of Hillsborough a couple of weeks ago to the Riverside and have no fears.
“We’ll go there and try to express ourselves and try to get a positive result.”
Mowbray signed Woodgate as a player in 2012 and he believes the new Boro boss, who is in his maiden campaign as a manager, has displayed great dignity amidst the adversity and struggles his side have faced this season.
“In any adverse situation, you have to learn and grow,” said Mowbray.
“I think he handled himself really well. He portrayed honesty in his post-match interviews that I watched and I think the fans up there like earthy people who don’t give them spiel or spin a story.
“I think the fans were always going to give him time, because he’s one of them. He talks their language. People understood that he wasn’t given a fortune to spend and I think he’s done a great job.”