The Football League Paper - - INSIDE: - By Alas­dair Hooper

BLACK­BURN may still be get­ting over the agony of rel­e­ga­tion but Tony Mowbray is adamant they have the squad to bounce back to the Cham­pi­onship at the first at­tempt.

Rovers suf­fered fi­nal-day heartache. They were rel­e­gated de­spite win­ning 3-1 at Brent­ford, as both Birm­ing­ham and For­est also won, mean­ing they went down on goal dif­fer­ence.

Mowbray re­placed Owen Coyle in Fe­bru­ary and picked up 22 points from his 15 games in charge but fell ag­o­nis­ingly short in his at­tempt to keep them up.

How­ever, the 53-year-old has man­aged in League One be­fore with Coven­try and be­lieves Black­burn have a great chance of win­ning pro­mo­tion – as long as he is backed to build the squad the way he wants.

He said: “I just want to work on the grass and in­spire young guys, create a to­geth­er­ness that can be bet­ter than the sum of the parts and bet­ter than the in­di­vid­u­als, some­thing I think we all be­lieve we can do.

“I be­lieve I can make good teams. As long as they’ve got the right char­ac­ter you can make a strong unit, in or out of pos­ses­sion. Hard to beat and hard to play against.

“If we can keep the right play­ers, I can only see us be­ing re­ally strong in League One.

“The main is­sue for me would be to try to keep the play­ers I think are go­ing to be too strong for League One. I’d like us to go out and spend loads of money and get the best play­ers and make me look a re­ally great coach by win­ning the league by loads of points, but that’s not the way it hap­pens.


“We have to put to­gether the pieces and create a team that is func­tional yet wins week in, week out.

“I know the salary lev­els at that level and, if we can keep our bet­ter play­ers, we will have a bud­get where I can’t ever sit in front of any­body and say ‘we need more money’.

“If I can in­spire the play­ers, they should be right at the top of the divi­sion with the qual­ity they pos­sess, but we’ll see what the sum­mer brings.”

Mowbray has al­ready been backed by the club’s own­ers – the Venky fam­ily – but di­rec­tor of foot­ball op­er­a­tions Paul Se­nior has re­signed.

Se­nior had been in the role only since Jan­uary.

Rel­e­ga­tion means Black­burn be­come the first for­mer Pre­mier League win­ners to play in the third tier of English foot­ball, al­though they picked up 11 points from their last five games and al­most saved them­selves. Rel­e­ga­tion has left Southamp­ton loa­nee Sam Gal­lagher, 21, dev­as­tated as he re­turns to his par­ent club. The striker said: “We’re gut­ted. You al­ways look back and think of games where you could have picked up points but it’s a long sea­son so it is what it is. “It’s one of the best dress­ing rooms I’ve been in. I owe a lot to this club af­ter giv­ing me such a great op­por­tu­nity. I’ve had a lot of games and time to grow.”

PICTURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

IT’S OVER: Black­burn loa­nee Sam Gal­lagher looks de­jected at Grif­fin Park

PLANS: Tony Mowbray

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