Darragh Lenihan believes Rovers have come a long away under Tony Mowbray after finishing 15th in their first season back in the Championship.

Lenihan scored Rovers’ first goal in their 2-2 draw with Swansea City on Sunday as they reached the 60 point target the boss had set them.

The Swansea draw came exactly a year on from the win over Oxford in front of more than 27,000 fans as Rovers celebrated promotion back to the Championship having been relegated 12 months earlier on the final day at Brentford.

Lenihan hopes Rovers can be challenging for a top six spot next season, as they continue their upward trajectory under Mowbray who will head to India for meetings with owners Venky’s later this month.

“You only have look at the progress we have made under the manager in terms of performances and the players that have come in to the club,” Lenihan said.

“It’s something to build on for next season and hopefully we be challenging for the top six next season.

“It is a big step up from League One to the Championship and everyone wants to make the next step, you speak to all the boys and they all want to play in the Premier League.

“We all want to do our best to get there.”

Lenihan has been part of a Rovers backline which has shipped 69 goals this season, but his absence through injury in February coincided with a dip in form which ended any hopes of a possible play-off push this term.

He admits it is something Rovers have tried to address during the season, but feels it is a team effort, and not just something to pin on the back four.

He added: “It’s a team effort in terms of both attacking and defending.

“You can’t just pin it on the defenders.

“We work every day to improve and every one of the lads will say the same.”

A run of four straight wins in January moved Rovers to within touching distance of the play-off spots.

But one win from their next 11 matches saw them slide down the table, but never to within danger of being sucked in to a relegation battle.

Asked if he would have settled for 15th place at the start of the season, he said: “I think we would have.

“The other two teams who came up with us, Wigan and Rotherham, one has finished below us and the other has got relegated.

“You look back, it’s improvement and something to build on.

“It’s a big step. Wigan won the league last year, Rotherham got promoted, but this is such a hard league to compete in and anyone can beat anyone.

“That’s the nature of this league and if you have your off days, and don’t turn up, then you will get turned over.

“That’s happened a couple of times this season but we will look to eradicate those next year.”