Rovers Chief Executive Steve Waggott admits this season’s crowds at Ewood are a concern.

An attendance in excess of 20,000 is expected for the next home game with Leeds United on October 20, boosted by the visitors filling an allocation of more than 7,500.

That will push up an average attendance which, from the opening six home league games, stands at 13,477. That is up on last season’s League One average of 12,832 which was higher than the 12,688 figure from the last Championship campaign on 2016/17.

Waggott said in the summer that he had set a ‘stretch target’ for season tickets, with Rovers understood to have sold in the region of 10,000.

Tony Mowbray’s men suffered a first home defeat in 26 league matches to Sheffield United last time out, falling just five games short of a club record number of unbeaten league fixtures at Ewood Park.

Asked on his thoughts on the current crowds at Ewood Park, Waggott said: “It’s one of the concerns. My projection was for the average crowds to be higher than what they are at the moment.

“Despite the effort and determination of the team and the link between the players and the fans that has come, it is a how do we get more in?

“The pages turn over quickly but this is a chapter when (the team) need their support.

“The team has done ever so well, but we need them to be behind the team and need that support because home games are going to be essential if we are to do something interesting.

“We’re trying as much as we can. I don’t know historically whether the club has had huge support?

“Against Leeds United we’re already hitting over 20,000, but Leeds are taking over 7,500 tickets. So what type of pool are we fishing in?”

Last season Rovers introduced an 1875 membership scheme and have offered half season tickets, as well as matchday incentives, in a bid to increase attendances. The club regularly hold fans’ forums, while Waggott often speaks with different supporter groups in the hopes of driving up numbers.

Following promotion from League One, Waggott took the decision to close the Darwen End to home supporters, with the stand behind the goal now used solely as an away end.

Aston Villa packed out the bottom tier for their visit on September 15, while Sheffield United and Nottingham Forest brought in excess of 2,000 away fans.

And Waggott believes enticing people back through the home turnstiles isn’t simply a case of reducing prices.

He added: “It’s not down to a simple pricing point and slash and burn prices because we have got season ticket holders and members and you have to make sure you are not breaching what they are paying because they are paying in advance.

“We’re looking at a whole range of things, from different focus groups within the club, at junior membership right the way through, at incentives, but we have to get some of these people (who used to come) back.

“I talk to supporters on the road, at the away games - we have great support on the road - and I try and get in among them and say that we need them at Ewood as well.

“In the forums I ask fans to talk to people and see if they can bring people because I really feel they are missing out on a positive era of the club.”

Rovers are not alone in their battle to improve attendances, with Championship clubs’ plight not helped by every midweek fixture being screened live on Sky Sports through the red button.

On the challenges facing clubs Waggott added: “It’s right across the board. I don’t want to get in to politics, but iFollow, Sky red button, all these other things that are available at the press of a button will impact, especially on midweek games.

“You have the blocked out hours but it will have an impact. It’s in discussion as to what the red button consists of within the Sky package.

“We get central distribution money from the Premier League so we do benefit, but Sky is such a huge income for everyone in football. It’s under debate.”