Charlie Mulgrew sealed a deadline day loan move to Wigan. Rich Sharpe looks back at his time at Rovers.

The man

It says a lot about the character of the player, and his now parent club manager, that with just hours to go before the transfer window closed, they could come to a decision they feel suits them both well.

The Scotland international had clearly sensed opportunities may have been limited in the upcoming campaign, with Mowbray once again showing how invested he is in players by granting Mulgrew’s wish to move.

To Mulgrew, there is the ‘cheeky chap’, his antics around the training ground regularly the ones that bring the most laughs. But there is too Mulgrew the leader, the strong voice, a trusted lieutenant of Mowbray.

Few look after themselves as well as Mulgrew, and with good reason, having stated his intention to play until he's 40.

His departure will leave as much of a hole off the pitch as it does on it. Countless times he played through the pain barrier, an undoubted team player.

There were opportunities for him to move on after relegation from the Championship, but to his credit, he wanted to help put right the wrongs of 2016/17 and how fitting it was that it was his header which sealed promotion and sparked incredible scenes in the away end at Doncaster.

The memories

The promotion clinching header at Doncaster that has been replayed over and over, winners against Newcastle home and away, his double in the vital victory over Shrewsbury, that left foot in particular won’t be easily forgotten, or replaced. 

Mulgrew has managed 27 goals and six assists in the last three seasons, a real set-piece specialist. And seemingly out of nowhere, with Mowbray’s first real decision being to put him on free kicks, corners, and later penalties, missing just one from 11.

Three goals from corners and a highlight reel full of stunning free-kicks, Mulgrew has been a huge part of Rovers’ journey from the disappointment of relegation, to promotion, and later stabilising in the Championship.

The move

Mulgrew leaves Rovers on 99 league appearances, 96 of them being starts. But will he get chance to reach his century?

Eyebrows were raised when, in the summer of 2016, at 30, Mulgrew signed a three-year deal at Ewood Park. Rovers had been stung too many times over handing extended contracts to experienced players who had previously struggled with injuries.

Things didn’t start well, substituted after just 34 minutes at QPR and it actually took until November 2016 that he completed 90 minutes for the first time.

But those fears were unfounded, going on to play 99 league games, 11 more than Darragh Lenihan has managed in the last three seasons.

Rovers’ season unravelled after the January transfer window closed, with Mulgrew one of four central defenders ruled out during the same period of time as they managed just four points from a possible 33 during a poor run in February and March.

Mulgrew’s departure reiterates the belief that Tosin Adarabioyo was brought in to become a first-choice defensive option, and likely partner for Lenihan, but also heightens the pressure on the Manchester City loanee hitting the ground running.

Equally, Rovers must hope for more luck when it comes to injuries, leaving themselves susceptible should they strike in similar fashion to early 2019, with Lenihan and Williams both having had fitness worries in recent times.

Then there is the contract situation. Have we seen the last of Mulgrew in a Rovers shirt?

Well, having only penned a new two-and-a-half year deal in November, even once his loan at Wigan is completed, he will still have 12 months remaining.

Rovers have been proactive with offering contracts to players in the last two years, but it does seem strange that only a few months after the ink dried on his new deal that his time at the club could be at end.

With the move only coming about in the dying hours of deadline day, maybe a loan move was easiest to facilitate.

These are questions that will be answered in time.

Mowbray said after the defeat to Charlton that the back four on the opening day wouldn’t be the one going forward, and he looks to be proved right.

With a new goalkeeper in Christian Walton, Adarabioyo signed up, and Greg Cunningham brought in on deadline day, there is to be a new-look to the backline soon.

Mowbray isn’t known for throwing new signings straight in, but now he may be left with no choice.

The fact all three are loan signings meaning Rovers have taken a short-term view when it comes to addressing their defensive concerns. The success will be judged in time.

For now, while Dack may remain in attack, there will be no Mulgrew at the back.

Good luck, Charlie.