BLACKBURN Rovers director Mike Cheston has declared himself ‘very pleased’ with season tickets sales – and has urged supporters to help beat last year’s figures.

Rovers are in the process of calculating the exact total of season tickets sold after the deadline for fans to claim their seats passed this week.

But, with new manager Owen Coyle making five summer signings, including the return of Danny Graham, Cheston has confirmed they are of a similar level to 12 months ago.

He said: “We’d love to beat last season’s figures but from where we were in May, when it looked like it was going to be difficult, I can only say we’re very pleased with season ticket sales to date.

“On a like-for-like basis we’re very comparable in terms of number of trading days so far.

“It is encouraging and we will continue to work very hard behind the scenes, Owen with what he’s doing, and us through all the channels available.

“We’ll look to get as close as to last season tickets sales as possible.”

Rovers fans protested against the club’s owners Venky’s in the final two games of last season after Coyle’s predecessor Paul Lambert announced his decision to leave.

The hashtag #VenkysOut also trended in the UK in the week leading up to Coyle’s appointment.

Asked what he would say to supporters who have decided not to renew their season tickets, Cheston said: “I would say we need your support.

“The club needs your support, the team needs your support, and if you’re not renewing your season ticket, I would ask why you are not renewing.

“If it’s a protest vote then you’re damaging the club, you’re damaging the staff, you’re damaging something you actually enjoy doing.

“If we do have a good team on the pitch playing next season and playing well, you’re denying yourselves.

“We want as many supporters as possible. We need them. The sooner we all get together and get behind the club the better for everybody.”

Rovers are planning to stage bi-annual meetings with fans, including those not in supporters’ groups, starting this season.

And Cheston said: “We are looking to meet with supporters groups in total twice a year with the board and with the manager.

“That’s consistent with the EFL (English Football League) charter in one example. It also gives the fans an opportunity to meet the board and the manager on a level playing field so we’re not meeting different supporters groups at different teams with slightly different messages coming out.

“We will have a more consistent message and the idea is that it’s not exclusive at all. We’re going to involve as many people in this process going forward.”

This season the Family Stand has been moved to the Jack Walker Stand lower tier (Blackburn End side).

But Cheston clarified that the Blackburn End upper tier would be reopened if demand required.

He said: “We wanted to concentrate the fans closer to the pitch and you have to think about the cost of operating something which wasn’t being occupied to a great extent anyway.

“We want to improve the atmosphere, first and foremost, so that was very much the logic, and if come the day the demand warrants opening it again, then of course we will do so.”