Tony Mowbray questioned whether the integrity of the Championship had been compromised by Huddersfield Town making 10 changes for their defeat to Birmingham City on this day in 2017.

Rovers kept their hopes of avoiding the drop to League One alive by beating Aston Villa 1-0 at Ewood Park and only remained in the bottom three only on goal difference.

But fellow relegation rivals Birmingham took advantage of Huddersfield’s much-changed side, as although playing more than three quarters of the game with 10 men, the Blues beat the promotion-chasers 2-0.

That meant they had a two-point gap over the bottom three going in to the final round of fixtures.

And when asked what he made of the Terriers’ team selection, Mowbray said: “Brucey (Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce) told me to be honest.

“I think, trying to be diplomatic on it, they have to look after their own club.

“They (Huddersfield) have a foreign coach (David Wagner) who has obviously done a fantastic job, turned that club around to a top six team and yet, I don’t know whether there are integrity issues with the league.

“As a coach you have to look after your own team.

“I find it unusual that you would make so many changes a few weeks away from the first play-off game, but if he feels that they need to rest and then put them all back in for the first play-off game.

“Do I fully understand it? I wouldn’t have done that as I would have been conscious of people asking questions and you know which players need a rest, which are carrying a little knock, some of them are so robust they can play a game every day.

“For me, it was about us doing the job, not Huddersfield’s changes against Birmingham.

“Birmingham did what they had to do, having 10 men after 23 minutes, it’s unusual to win 2-0, with no disrespect to Birmingham, with 10 men against a top six team.

“That suggests the 10 changes made a significant impact but hopefully that’s not me sat here bleating about it because the most important thing was we won our game and we managed to do that.”

Danny Graham’s 13th goal of the season 10 minutes in to the second half gave Rovers the victory, as they held on for a third clean sheet in four games.

It was their fourth 1-0 win under Mowbray, a third at Ewood Park, and their most important, knowing only victory in front of the biggest home league crowd of the season would make certain of their fate going to the final day.

“We go to the last day – that’s what we were looking to do,” he said.

“On paper it was a tough game, Aston Villa are a good team and we knew that they would be bringing a huge support.

“The last couple of home games have been slightly nervous for us, but I thought we started well, on the front foot, played a lot of the first half in their half and asked lots of questions of them. I think they stuck to the gameplan.

“We targeted Neil Taylor down that side with Sam (Gallagher), hit a lot of diagonals down that side of the pitch, played off that and ultimately, while we didn’t get a goal through that, it built up a momentum that we took in to the second half and after getting the goal we saw the game out.”

Captain Jason Lowe maintained belief that Rovers could pull off a great escape if they could replicate that level of performance.

He added: “It was a very good victory – we knew we had to win and it will come down to the final day.

“Hopefully there will be a few more twists and turns and they will go in our favour.

“It will be a tough game at Brentford, they drew away at Fulham (on Saturday), so it will be a tough game. But we need to go there and show the same level of performance in what will be a high pressure game.

“If we can do what we know we can, and get a little bit of luck, then hopefully it will go our way.”