Tony Mowbray says his side will be prepared to face whatever style of play Preston North End choose to adopt when the two teams meet at Deepdale tomorrow night.
Rovers raced into a two-goal lead in last season’s corresponding fixture, before Preston changed tactics and personnel on the half-hour mark and scored three times without reply in the second half to secure the spoils.
Whilst Mowbray is well aware of Preston’s potential threats, he says he will be looking for his players to impose themselves on the game and produce a performance worth of winning the three points.
“We didn’t deal with their physicality last season,” said the Rovers boss. “They changed tack and played pretty direct late on and got the rewards for it.
“We’ll prepare for Preston whether it’s direct or intricate passing or balls in behind or playing out from the back. Whatever they want to do, we have to be ready for. If it’s direct with two big strikers up front, we have to be ready for that.
“It’s not easy to go there. How it is with no crowd we’ll wait and see. They will obviously have been pleased to get their first win at home at the weekend.
“We’ve got to go and do what we do. We’ve got to play as we’ve been playing. The Luton game wasn’t as fluent as we normally are, a bit stodgy, which is understandable the first game back after a few weeks off.
“But we’ll go to Preston and try to impose ourselves on the game and see how we get on against a team that have been not too far away from the play-offs in recent years and with an ambition of getting in them.
“We always respect them, they’re a close neighbour and we’re looking forward to a good game.”
Rovers would normally be backed by a huge travelling support when making the short trip to Deepdale and Mowbray admits occasions like tomorrow really hit home how disappointing and noticeable it is not to have fans inside the stadium for a big local derby.
“You just hope that it’s not becoming the norm for people to sit and watch on a computer screen,” added the Rovers boss.
“It’s frustrating for us all. I hate it really, listening to my voice echoing from the stands.
“I would much prefer it and I’m sure the players would prefer it too to be drowned out by the noise of the crowd.
“It’s just an unreal scenario really. It feels like a practice match almost. It doesn’t feel like real football, but great credit to all the professional footballers around the country that they are applying themselves in a different environment to what they have known since they’ve been boys.
“Credit to them all for trying to make a spectacle of it, but we all yearn for the fans back in the stadium.”