Tony Mowbray believes owners Venky’s deserve credit for the way the club has rebuilt since relegation from the Championship – but won’t let his players settle on anything other than maintaining a top six push.

All three promoted teams, including weekend opponents Charlton, are in the current bottom six while Wigan, promoted along with Rovers two years ago, are in the relegation zone.

Rovers finished 15th after their promotion from League One, but have set their sights higher this term, with Mowbray keen to see them keep up their push for a Premier League return.

Owners Venky’s have financed the big money signings of Sam Gallagher and Ben Brereton and Mowbray says that support has enabled Rovers to be in the position they are. They travel to The Valley without eight first-team players but looking to cut the six point gap to the play-off spots.

“First and foremost this club should never have got relegated and that’s the reality of it,” Mowbray said.

“We managed to bounce back and you have to say the owners have supported the rebuilding programme.”

Mowbray targeted a top six push at the start of the season, and despite the loss of several key performers to injury, says adding some pressure to his group can help bring out the best in them.

“It’s an amazing league, but we enjoy every week,” he explained.

“I do put pressure on the group because I think some pressure helps them believe we should threaten the top six this year, trying to get in to the play-offs and pushing hard.

“And that’s what we are doing and hopefully we can take that right through to the end of the season and see where it takes us.

“I think the reality is, as we found in the transfer window, there are a lot of clubs with some high earning footballers in this division and it’s not an easy league to get out of.

“You can see the competition, there are some big clubs down the bottom of the league struggling, the fight for the top spots is more ferocious than ever.

“We’re not quite there but if we can string a few wins together and do what we’ve done a few times this season, win four or five on the bounce, then we’ll be right in the mix coming to the final stages of the season and that’s our aim, to find some consistent victories over the next month or so and see where it takes us.”

Parachute payments and wage demands continue to play a big part in the second tier, as Mowbray says Rovers found in last month’s transfer window.

He added: “The league is full of teams from the Premier League. Fulham spent £126m the summer before to try and stay in the Premier League, there are some huge clubs, Stoke City with £60,000-a-week footballers playing in their team so it’s hugely difficult to come up from a league where your top earners might be earning £3,000 a week and playing against smaller teams.

“It’s a huge gulf in class from League One to the Championship.

“How well have our team done? We finished 15th with 60 points, this year we hope to finish higher.

“We’re six points at the minute, but trying to threaten the top six and I’ve talked about continual improvement.

“Brentford, it’s six years since they came out of League One and they have built their club up to where it is now, I think it does take time.

“I don’t think you come out of League One and all of a sudden have a team capable of getting out of the division, unless you have exceptional circumstances.

“Sheffield United did it (in their second season) with a group who are still pushing on in the Premier League, it’s not easy to do because of the size of some of the sides in the Championship.”