TOMMY Spurr believes Blackburn Rovers’ storming end to the season should give the fans who have taken him to their hearts real hope of a promotion-winning campaign.
Rovers signed off for the 2013-14 season with a 4-3 victory over Wigan Athletic last weekend which stretched their unbeaten run to 12 matches.
That is the club’s longest unbeaten league run since they famously won the Premiership in 1994-95.
However the sequence of six wins and six draws was not enough to secure Gary Bowyer’s new-look side a place in the play-offs.
That means Rovers will spend a third successive campaign in the Championship.
But left-back Spurr, whose fine form was this week rewarded with a contract extension, reckons there is reason to believe the club’s top-flight exile can come to an end next season.
“To go 12 games unbeaten is tough, especially at the tough end of the season when teams really need results,” said Spurr, whose new deal ties him to Rovers until June 2016.
“It’s all credit to the lads that we’ve gone out and got results.
“Yes during those 12 games we should have picked up more points if you look at games like Sheffield Wednesday and Millwall.
“But there are ifs and buts you could look back on all season.
“Overall I think it’s been a positive season and I think we’ve given the fans something to look forward to next season and given them a bit of hope that we’re going to be up there challenging for promotion.”
Rovers would have finished inside the play-offs places, rather than two points outside of them, had they not conceded late goals in drawing at home to Brighton & Hove Albion and away to Sheffield Wednesday.
But Spurr reckons the fact that Rovers got so close to the top six, after so much upheaval, should not be taken for granted.
“There has been a massive change of personnel here this year and a lot of new players,” said the 26-year-old, who finished third in the club’s player of the year poll, as voted by supporters.
“It has taken time for us to gel and find the best way for us to play.
“Obviously we’ve gone 12 games unbeaten and that’s a massive step from where we were earlier in the season when we were struggling for consistency.
“Since halfway through the season we’ve been a lot more consistent.
“We’ve sorted out our away form, kept winning games at home and we’ve finished the season scoring a lot of goals.”
Spurr, himself, has been a model of consistency.
And he would have been the only player to start every Championship match had a groin injury not ruled him out of the final three games of the campaign.
Spurr said: “I was disappointed not to get all 46 games under my belt but I’m just delighted to be part of a good side here and a good atmosphere.
“The lads are pulling together, there is a confidence and we expect to do well.”
Rovers, meanwhile, have no interest in signing Walsall striker Craig Westcarr on a free transfer.
Reports have linked the 29-year-old free agent with the Ewood Park outfit after he opted against signing a new contract with the League One outfit.
But Westcarr, who scored 17 goals for Walsall last season, is not on Rovers boss Bowyer’s shortlist.