IF hard work brings rewards, as the old saying goes, then Craig Conway is the embodiment of it.

Conway was always going to find it difficult to replicate the form he showed in the second half of last season.

Four goals and 12 assists in 18 games following his £100,000 move from Cardiff City; it could not have gone any better for him.


In many ways the winger was guilty of setting the bar too high and, sure enough, come the start of this season, he was unable to meet it.

So much so that at one stage he lost his status as one of Gary Bowyer’s automatic picks. Now, however, he looks undroppable again.

Credit to Conway for that. His response to a dip in standards was to get his head down and put in the hard graft on the training ground.

And he is certainly reaping the rewards of that now.

His stunning strike in Tuesday’s win over Rotherham lit up the first half but more than his goal-of-the-season contender, it was his sheer workrate that impressed.

He is proof positive that you can play your way back into form and his team-mates should take heart from that as, apart from Markus Olsson, how many of them have played consistently well this season?

But there are encouraging signs that key members of Bowyer’s squad are getting back to their best.

Captain Grant Hanley has put five successive solid showings together since being paired together with the excellent Matt Kilgallon and Jordan Rhodes has scored two goals in the last three games.

Six points from those games – it should really have been nine given the performance against Watford – has offered evidence that Rovers are getting their season back on track.

And it is also raised spirits going into this weekend’s big FA Cup fifth-round tie at home to Stoke.

Rovers came in for criticism for their ticket prices for the fourth-round win over Swansea.

Credit the club, then, for offering a reduced price for season-ticket holders who buy their tickets before Saturday.

But it is ridiculous Rovers will be prevented from making more money from the match after the police rejected Stoke’s request for 2,000 extra tickets unless the kick-off time was brought forward.

Are the Potters an isolated case? Or would the same apply if Rovers were to progress to the quarter-finals and be drawn at home to a Manchester United or a Liverpool?

And what would happen if Rovers were to win promotion and once again welcome the likes of United back to Ewood every other week?

That, of course, is a long, long way off.

But there is no doubt Rovers stand a better chance of forcing their way into the top six with Conway playing the way he is at present.