Charlie Mulgrew’s return does have ‘implications’ for Rovers’ January transfer window plans - but Tony Mowbray has no qualms over the Scotland international cutting short his loan spell at Wigan.

Mulgrew took the decision to end his loan spell at the DW Stadium and return to Ewood Park, despite Mowbray having expected the Latics to pursue a permanent deal this month.

Instead, Mulgrew will now see out the season with Rovers having already played for two clubs.

The 33-year-old is one of the club’s highest earners, and still has 18 months left to run on his contract, which played a part in the decision to allow him to leave.

Asked how Mulgrew’s return could impact on possible January business, Mowbray told the Lancashire Telegraph: “The bottom line is that Charlie Mulgrew will look after his contract.

“He earned the contract in my eyes, he scored 24 goals in two seasons for this football club. He’s a great pro.

“There are implications on him coming back, we have to deal with that, that’s part and parcel of football.”

Mulgrew was handed a new two-and-a-half year deal in November 2018, but was loaned out just nine months later.

Asked about that decision, Mowbray added: “It feels like a stick to beat me with, I think Charlie Mulgrew deserved his contract, we will honour his contract.

“Ultimately what I made a decision on was how we were going to play and be better than average, finishing 16th in the league.

“I wanted to take us higher up the pitch, play in the opposition half and wanted to give ourselves a better chance of being successful.

“While we’re not a passing team that can generally build from the back, have 20 passes and play through teams, I felt we needed to play higher up the pitch, press higher and play more in the opposition half.

“To do that your defenders have to have decent mobility to cover that space you leave in behind.

“That was a decision and Charlie understood that and decided to go and have a shot at playing somewhere else.

“On the back of the season we had in the Championship last season, we’re trying to push the club forward, grow the club, develop and move it forward.

“You need players to do that. I’ve no problem with Charlie Mulgrew being around our squad, helping the team and I’m sure he will score some goals, swing some corners in moving forward.

“He made the decision that if he wasn’t going to be a starter in our team every week then he thought it’d best at his age to try and go somewhere to play.

“He’s come back and will be a squad and I have no problems with that, I don’t see it being an issue. Otherwise you will sit and moan about having a team of kids on the bench.

“If we can have a Scottish international on the bench that ain’t too bad.”

Set piece specialist Mulgrew is currently injured and won’t travel with the squad to Sheffield Wednesday.

Mowbray hasn’t ruled out the club captaining featuring again this season, but added: “I think it’s fair comment to say it was a surprise.

“I keep in touch with Charlie. The last conversation I had with him was when he phoned me and he said he wanted to come back.

“I explained the situation of how he left, why he left, how we allowed him to leave, and explained that not too much has changed.

“If he is coming back I told him not to expect to be in and around it. He was fine with that. He understands.

“Most footballers want you to be honest with him and I was, I told him what I think, how I see it.

“But who knows that if we have an injury crisis in that position or we feel if he can help on any given day, he’s been an amazing servant to this club over a number of years now.

“He’ll be treated with respect, he’ll train with us every day and included in what we do every day. But it’s not a situation where he will come back and be straight back in the team.

“I like the centre pairing of Adarabioyo and Lenihan and feel if we can get the consistency around him then they can help this club finish in the top six.

“Charlie knew that, but still wanted to come back and he came back at his request.”

Mulgrew has played in a number of positions throughout his career, but has featured exclusively in central defence under Mowbray.

“I think that will depend on the fitness of the squad, the numbers, the options we’ve got,” Mowbray said of Mulgrew's versatility.

“Whenever you’re picking a team you try and balance the team out, if you’re at home you might have an extra striker on the bench or away from home you might have an extra defender or midfielder with versatility.

“Is Charlie versatile? I think his left foot is. You get a free kick with how ever many minutes left from 20 yards out then he has a good chance of scoring.

“The reason he left is the same now, we wanted to play higher up the pitch, and Charlie, who knew those things and had discussions with, when you get to a certain age in football you struggle to change your habits.

“We’ve played Stewy Downing at left back and who’s to say he can’t play at left back and service balls forward with his left foot like Downing has done with the control and forward passing he brings.

“I don’t sit here and say ‘you will not play for us’ I’ve said that he will have to come back in to the group, he’s an amazing human being, a great pro, come back and get on with it and no sulking if he doesn’t play. He understands all the parameters.”