BLACKBURN Rovers boss Gary Bowyer admits his side are missing Tom Cairney.

Tomorrow’s Craven Cottage clash will be the first time Rovers have faced their former midfield star since he was sold to Fulham in June for in excess of £3m.

And Bowyer, who had bought Cairney for £600,000 18 months earlier, said: “We have missed him and we’ll always miss him because of who he was and what he was about when he was here.

“When we first took over the club he was the type of model of player we wanted to bring in.

“And off the pitch he was fantastic too, he couldn’t do enough for the fans. He was always accommodating and, given his number of female supporters, he probably had the best shirt sales we’ve had!

“On the pitch he was a good player and he is still a good player. He can only improve and get better.

“We’d hoped it was going to be with us and we’d highlighted areas of his game to improve with us.

“But obviously the bid came in and it was accepted. We didn’t want to lose the player and now he’s playing against us.

“I’m sure it’ll be a tough afternoon for his mum because she became a big Blackburn fan.

“After Sunday we will wish him well.”

Cairney kick-started a summer spending spree at Fulham which ended with the captures of defenders Tim Ream and Richard Stearman in the final weeks of the window.

And Bowyer said: “I think they’ve spent well this summer and gone out and got some good players.

“They spent more on two centre-halves at the death there than our whole time here.”