TONY Mowbray admits a promotion six-pointer with Shrewsbury next weekend is his priority, but insists it won’t detract from his desire to progress in the FA Cup against Hull on Saturday.
Rovers host the Championship side in round three having made it past Barnet and Crewe, via a replay, so far. But a League One meeting with second-placed Shrewsbury on January 13 won’t be far from Mowbray’s mind when picking a team for the cup tie.
With Rovers having finished a run of four games in 10 days at Rotherham on Monday, Mowbray is set to rest a number of senior players but he has named strong squads in each of Rovers’ three games in this competition so far this term and is looking to reach round four.
“It takes a bit of intensity out of it and allows us to take a bit of a breather and not be overly concerned about the result,” Mowbray said of the tie.
“We’d obviously like to win and progress in the cup but we know what our main aim and our main target is this year and we’ll focus on that and pick a team that can hopefully be very competitive against Hull City but the main focus would be Shrewsbury Town the following week.”
Rovers took six points from a possible 12 over the Christmas period but remain unbeaten in 14 league games and 18 in all competitions after three draws in their last four outings.
While frustrated to drop points against Northampton, Scunthorpe and Rotherham, Mowbray wants to try and carry the unbeaten run for the remainder of the season.
And refusing to put too much on the visit of the Shrews next weekend, he added: “They are all big games, we have 21 games left and they are all massive games.
“There is only ever three points at stake and we have to make sure we can keep going and see if we can keep going until the end of the season.
“If we can win a lot of those games then we won’t be far away.
“We’re just about two points a game which is what we have always been aiming at and if you get mid-nineties then you have a fair chance of being in the top two so we have to keep plugging away.”
The run of draws has seen Rovers slip to five points off the automatic promotion places despite having picked up 49 points from their 25 games so far.
And Mowbray hopes to keep pushing the top two hard as he targets a strong run of home results.
He added: “Draws will come along and we have to take them on the chin away from home sometimes as things don’t always go for you, a bad decision or you miss a great chance.
“You have to be thankful that you don’t lose those matches, you put a point in the bag and you move on to the next one and try and win your home games.
“That’s what I’ve always said, the majority of our points have got to come at home if we’re going to be successful and I’m sure they will.”