The Football League Paper - - CHRIS DUNLAVY -

TONY Mow­bray had ev­ery right to blow his own trum­pet af­ter last week­end’s tac­ti­cal master­class in vic­tory over Leeds.

His Black­burn side found ev­ery weak point in the lead­ers’ ar­mour and ex­ploited them all. The 2-1 re­sult did not flat­ter them.

Yet hav­ing ex­plained in de­tail how he and his staff had dis­sected reams of footage, he added a telling caveat.

“We had an in­ter­na­tional break to pre­pare,” said the former Celtic boss. “It gave us two weeks to watch Leeds play, to come up with game­plans. Now I’ve got two days to pre­pare for Swansea…”

The un­spo­ken im­pli­ca­tion was that things wouldn’t be so easy at the Lib­erty Sta­dium, and they weren’t; Rovers lost 3-1.

Which just goes to show what a thank­less task ev­ery EFL man­ager has. Sure, you can take your coach­ing badges. You can go to War­wick Busi­ness School and earn a cer­tifi­cate in Foot­ball Man­age­ment. You can visit Mel­wood and La Ma­sia.

But then the games come at you like ten­nis balls out of a spit­fire ma­chine. It’s like train­ing to be a sur­geon and then be­ing told you’ve got half an hour to per­form a heart transplant.

That’s why the Cham­pi­onship is so glo­ri­ously un­pre­dictable. No­body is com­plain­ing. Still, it does make you ap­pre­ci­ate how much eas­ier man­agers in the top flight have it.

PLANS: Tony Mow­bray

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