The Johnstone’s Paint Trophy could very well prove to be the competition that lifts Rovers’ spirits during a tough campaign if their reintroduction to the tournament was anything to go by.
Rovers eased past League Two high-fliers Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium with goals from Harry Forrester, Nathan Tyson and Richie Wellens.
The JP Trophy is a competition where limiting the number of changes teams can make to their starting XIs has proved necessary in order to maintain its integrity.
But it appears from first sight that it is a competition Paul Dickov is determined to take seriously. Though few faces remain from the 2007 triumph, Dickov will have been made well aware of what that piece of silverware meant to the club and what it could mean to his tenure in charge.
Two of the three changes he made were enforced by international call ups while Mitchell Lund was handed his senior debut at right back.
There did not however appear to be a great deal of intent from Rovers for the first quarter of the game as they opted for patience over urgency, happy to play the ball around the back and wait for openings to appear.
It meant that while it was the hosts who showed the greater attacking intent and enjoyed more forays into opposition territory, Rovers were largely comfortable.
Burton’s Alex McDonald drilled a shot from the corner of the box, forcing Jed Steer into a fine save at his near post.
There was another good chance for the hosts seconds later with Dominic Knowles showing good reactions to smash a deflected Lucas Akins shot first time but he could not keep the effort down.
Rovers quickly began to stifle Burton’s play with possession.
They failed to produce a chance of real note until the 27th minute but it signalled them moving through the gears for the remainder of the half.
An outrageous dummy from Marc De Val sparked the move which sent James Coppinger scarpering clear. He found Mitchell Lund who played in Forrester to drill across the face of goal.
Moments later another slick move saw an excellent one-two between Richie Wellens and Coppinger with the latter then sending a tame shot straight at Dean Lyness.
And the strong period was capped with the opening goal on 33 minutes.
Forrester started the move, switching possession across the field to Coppinger whose dinked cross into the box was headed out by Ian Sharps but only as far as Forrester who chested down and drilled in from ten yards.
Rovers were gifted their second three minutes before the break.
Tyson galloped into the box and while wrestling with two defenders, John Moushinho jumped into a challenge with referee Mark Brown immediately pointing to the spot.
Tyson dusted himself down and tucked the ball into the bottom corner giving Lyness little chance of reaching it.
Burton boss Gary Rowett made a couple of changes at the break, rejigging his side.
And it produced a reaction from the hosts who enjoyed their best spell of the match in the opening 15 minutes of the second half.
Towering defender George Taft made a real impression after his introduction and delivered a superb ball into the box, finding Jacob Blyth in space but the forward’s diving header flew over the bar.
And Blyth really should have done better just after the hour when he beat the offside trap but hooked his shot harmlessly wide.
Burton’s advances eased as Rovers began to enjoy possession once more.
And just when it seemed as though the game was peter out without much incident, Rovers grabbed their third.
Substitute Theo Robinson squared for the advancing Wellens who galloped into the box and clipped the ball over Dean Lyness to secure passage with three minutes to go.
There was still time for Knowles to strike the post with a header but Burton’s fate was sealed, their history of no wins in the Football League Trophy continuing.
Burton: Lyness, Edwards, Cansdell-Sherriff, Sharps (Bell 46), McCrory (Taft 46), Akins, Mousinho, Palmer, MacDonald (Harness 71), Blyth, Knowles. Not used: McLaughlin, McGurk.
Rovers: Steer, Lund, Wabara, McCombe, Evina, Keegan (Middleton 85), De Val, Coppinger, Wellens, Forrester (Whitehouse 90), Tyson (Robinson 73). Not used: Brown, Bennett.
Referee: Mark Brown (East Yorkshire)
Goals: Forrester 33, Tyson (pen 41), Wellens 87