Macclesfield’s Moss Rose ground was where it all started for the former Manchester United man, little more than 20 months ago, his rise to the top has been that quick.
After a season of success at MK Dons, Ince is already finding out what the pressures at this rarefied level are.
The top dogs are already trying to snatch away his best players. England winger David Bentley, whose £17million move to Tottenham is being negotiated, was not involved because of a calf problem.
Roque Santa Cruz was also absent, still recovering from his World Cup exertions with Paraguay, but he too may not be seen in a Rovers shirt again.
And this could have been Brad Friedel’s last outing for the Ewood Park club, too. He appears to be on his way out but still got a hero’s reception from the 500-strong travelling support who would be sad to see the 37 year-old’s exit.
Friedel found himself under pressure early on, making hard work of stopping long-range free-kicks from Terry Dunfield and Sean Hessey.
The American pointedly turned and applauded those fans before departing at half-time.
Paul Gallagher :
Rovers had slowly taken control. Christopher Samba saw a low header sail just wide and Benni McCarthy hit a post before Dunn worked his way through to fire in a clever goal three minutes from the break.
Rovers sent out a totally different 11 in the second period and were two ahead inside a minute when Gallagher header home a Tony Kane cross.
League Two side Macclesfield, who eventually avoided the drop last season under new boss Keith Alexander, pulled one back soon after when Martin Gritton side-footed home a Francis Green cross.
The appearance of Wayne Rooney’s brother, John – who has just been given a two-year contract at Macclesfield – almost produced an equaliser with a late shot on the turn.