Tony Mowbray tipped to lead Blackburn Rovers back into the Championship

Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) previews Tony Mowbray and Blackburn Rovers ahead of the upcoming 2017/18 League One season.

Background

Blackburn return the third tier of English football for the first time since 1980 but the mood is oddly better than at any stage in the past five years after a late dash for survival under Tony Mowbray. Rovers suffered defeat just three times in the final 15 matches and have made some eye-catching signings over the summer, addressing obvious areas of weakness with players of high calibre. Mowbray knows the level. He spent 18 months under testing conditions at Coventry and had them challenging for a while.

Personality

Mowbray is a romantic advocate of players with great technical ability. Find him a player who can do great things with the ball at his feet, no matter what his other limitations, and Mowbray will strive to find a system or set-up that gets that player to express his talent on the pitch. If they fail, he takes full responsibility. It’s a philosophy that reaps tremendous rewards when things are going well but it’s not always sustainable. When several flair players go missing at once, it can get messy.

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Verdict

Post-Christmas collapses have been a recurring theme for Mowbray at Middlesbrough and Coventry but the important thing to note is that he got those clubs into those contention, leading from the front, where most others wouldn’t have been capable. Given the budget he has at Ewood Park, he would surely sustain any promotion charge much better, simply because his resources would be less stretched. And if any obvious weaknesses did emerge, you’d back him to address them in January.

Prediction: automatic promotion

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