BLACKBURN Rovers former goal-scoring midfielder John Lowey died on Monday at his Australian home.

The Manchester-born 61-year-old was at Ewood Park from 1980 to 1986 making 156 appearances and scoring 16 goals.

He is the second member of Rovers 1980s Second Division side to die in two weeks following last month’s loss of Kevin Stonehouse aged 59.

Mr Lowey’s former team-mates Derek Fazackerley and Simon Garner paid tribute to a versatile colleague with a keen sense of humour.

He settled in Australia after finishing his career with Brisbane Lions, becoming a financial adviser.

Mr Lowey started his career with Manchester United before playing in America. He then moved to Sheffield Wednesday before joining Rovers.

Mr Fazackerley said: “I was close to John. I visited him in Australia and saw him 18 months ago in France.

“He was a fantastic lad, always one of the leaders in the dressing room banter.

“I remember him scoring the winning goal at Ewood Park which knocked Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest out of the FA Cup.

“He was one of a small group of players who kept the club going when it was run on a shoestring.

“John always kept his dry Mancunian sense of humour. He was amongst a group of players from an era when what they achieved for Blackburn Rovers is often not fully appreciated today.

“We recently lost Kevin Stonehouse and John’s death is another blow, most of all for his family.”

Mr Garner said: “John could play in several positions. He was very popular and we all got well with him. It’s just so sad to lose him.”

An Ewood Park spokesman said: “The thoughts of everyone at Blackburn Rovers are with John’s family and friends at this difficult time.”

He leaves his wife Mandy and son Adam. Mr Lowey later played for Wigan, Chesterfield, York City, Preston, and Chester City.