Tony Mowbray says he respects the decision of Patrick Bauer after Rovers’ long-term target opted for Preston rather than a move to Ewood Park.

Mowbray revealed he held talks with the German central defender this summer, a free agent after leaving Charlton, before he signed for North End on a three-year deal.

Rovers’ interest stems back to last year, when they saw two bids rejected for the 26-year-old who ended the season a Charlton hero, netting the winner as they secured promotion back to the Championship.

He then turned down the offer of a new deal at The Valley, with Rovers among the teams chasing him, before Preston won the race.

Mowbray wants to strengthen his defensive ranks this summer, with no new additions to date, but said Bauer would have come in to challenge for a starting spot, rather than be a guaranteed starter.

He told the Lancashire Telegraph: “We tried to sign him to give us some stability to our squad and then try and force his way in.

“I have been aware of him for a long time and that he was running down his contract.

“I thought he was a man, not to force his way straight in to our starting XI, but over time try and do that. And it would have been down to him challenge and get in the team.

“I’m sure that will be the same at Preston because they have a pretty solid defensive unit and that is the challenge.

“We had discussions but I totally respect his decision.”

The 26-year-old had been with Charlton since signing from Portuguese top-flight club Maritimo in 2015.

However, the Addicks were relegated from the Championship in his first season at the club, before securing a return to the second tier via the play-offs in May.

Bauer scored a last minute winner against Sunderland which had given Charlton hope of tying down one of the key players in their promotion success to an extended stay.

But Bauer turned down a new deal, and despite Rovers’ long-term interest, he chose to make the move to Deepdale.

Though Mowbray bears no grudges, having explained to Bauer he could offer no guarantees over a starting spot should he have signed for Rovers.

He added: “As I’ve said with a lot of footballers, I don’t like telling them lies.

“I tell them they will come in and have to try and get in front of those in the team and be good enough to stay in the team.

“There is no point telling them all that they are going to be the main man because they feel where they are when the come in to the squad.

“But all players have options.”