Rovers will be without one of their on-form players for the majority of January after Dean Furman was named in the South Africa squad for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Furman will depart after Saturday’s FA Cup tie with Bristol City and not return until the January 31 trip to Chesterfield, at the very earliest.
Even if South Africa exit at the group stage, the Spireites clash may come too soon for Furman with his third and final group tie being played on January 27 in Equatorial Guinea. Should Bafana Bafana progress to the final, Furman will be absent from Rovers until mid-February.
The 26-year-old has skippered his country since Senzo Meyiwa was shot during a burglary earlier this year.
Furman’s selection will be somewhat of a blow to Rovers following his recent performances.
The midfielder has been key to the recent strong run with a 4-1-4-1 formation, providing superb work in a box-to-box role which helped Rovers to three straight clean sheets.
His absence could open the door for academy graduate Harry Middleton whom boss Paul Dickov told the Star earlier this week was close to his first league start.