Tony Mowbray revealed Rovers haven’t offered a deal to target Stewart Downing - but is interested in bringing him to Ewood Park.

Downing is set to leave boyhood club Middlesbrough and is available on a free transfer this summer, and his experience and quality appeals to Mowbray.

The pair are known to each other from their Teesside roots with Mowbray feeling the winger, who turns 35 next month, is ‘a very talented footballer’.

But talks are yet to go beyond informal conversations, with Downing also weighing up offers from a number of clubs, including Sunderland.

“There’s no offer, there’s been conversations.

“Stewart is an out of contact footballer. I’m relaxed and comfortable.

“If Stewart Downing wants to come to Blackburn Rovers then I think he’s a very talented footballer.

“If he wants to go to any of the other clubs that have been mentioned then that’s fine also, whether that’s to play more football or earn a few more quid.

“That would be no problem.”

Middlesbrough, who narrowly missed out on a play-off spot in the Championship last season, remain without a manager since the departure of Tony Pulis last month.

Jonathan Woodgate is a leading contender for the role, and were he to take over then there would be a chance that former team-mate Downing could remain at the Riverside.

The former England international, capped 35 times by his country, has interest from League One Sunderland, which could appeal should he wish to stay in his native north east.

Rangers, managed by his former team-mate Steven Gerrard, and Sheffield Wednesday are other clubs thought to be interested in a possible summer move.

While Mowbray won’t be pressing Downing for an answer, chief executive Steve Waggott said the influence of the club’s manager could see Rovers win the race.

But Mowbray insists it will come down to the player and what he feels is best for the next stage of his career.

He added: “I know him from my ties with Middlesbrough Football Club over a number of years and he has decisions to make. He has options. My personality isn’t to beat him with a stick and say ‘if we don’t know by Friday then forget it you’re not coming’.

“Footballers have to make the right decision and if they are to come to your football club they need to weigh things up, decide what’s right for them, feel the positives or negatives about what the managers have spoken about and then make the decisions.”