Bradley Johnson has started 2020-21 in fine form and knows he has to keep his performances high with competition breathing down his neck.
Johnson was the scorer of Rovers' first league goal of the season down at AFC Bournemouth on the opening day of the campaign, and backed that up with a typically combative display in midfield in the 5-0 thumping of Wycombe Wanderers last time out.
The enforcer looks likely to continue in the starting XI for Rovers' third Championship outing of the term, with a return to old club Derby County on the agenda this weekend.
“It’s been a really good week for us and the confidence is high in the squad," the 33-year-old reflected to iFollow Rovers.
“We’ve been playing well this season even in the games we lost at AFC Bournemouth and at Newcastle.
“It was good to get the first win of the season at Ewood, even against 10 men and against a team who are newly promoted.
“I’m happy with my early performances and I’m always happy to play," he added when touching on his early displays.
“I worked really hard in pre-season and I think I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in during my career.
“I started well last season and fell out of form, so I know it’s down to me to keep the consistency going.
“I'm enjoying playing in a formation that I played in my final season at Derby, the holding midfield role but also having that license to go forward and press."
There are plenty of options to choose from in Johnson's midfield position, and the experienced former Norwich City and Leeds United man admits that competition for places is only a good thing.
“Every game is a new game, I can’t think about what I’ve done before," he said.
“I want to go into every game and keep my shirt, and the way we play now I think suits me really well.
“Everywhere I’ve been there’s been quality in the squads and that’s exactly the same here. I know that there’s someone waiting in the wings if I do have an off day.
“Everyone is staking a claim for the shirt and it drives everyone on. I know the role, I know what the manager wants from me and I feel I’m playing well."
Rovers are also without a number of key players, including injured pair Sam Gallagher and Lewis Travis, and Johnson believes the squad will look even stronger when everyone is fit and raring to go.
“Dacky [Bradley Dack]’s on his way back and will feel like a new signing for us, everyone knows his quality," he added.
“I’ve played with Daniel [Ayala] at Norwich and I’ve known him for many years. I know what he’s all about, he’s an out and out defender who hates conceding goals.
“Corry [Evans] took my shirt last season and is another very good player.
“I’m sure the competition will drive each other on, push people further and hopefully that will result in us going exactly where we want to go."