The ‘three-year cycle’ is a phrase often used by Tony Mowbray when describing the ebbs and flows of football management.

Mowbray spent just shy of three years at West Brom before opting to leave for Celtic in the summer of 2009, with another three years coming at Middlesbrough between 2010 and 2013.

After 161 games in the Ewood Park dugout, and three-and-a-quarter years in charge, his stint as Rovers manager is now the longest of his career.

Having played for just three clubs in his extensive playing career, that should come as no surprise, but success will always be the main driving force.

In the modern football world, the landscape is rapidly changing, Mowbray is already the 14th longest serving boss across the Premier League and EFL, and also the 14th oldest.

At 56 Mowbray isn’t one for looking too far ahead, unsurprising in a world where a few bad results can put you on the verge of the sack. And with wall-to-wall coverage of the game, after an extensive period in charge, Mowbray admits: “sometimes people get sick, supporters generally, of the same voice and same things”.

However, Rovers continue to improve, and with nine games to go, look well set to build on last season’s tally of 60 points and 15th place. And after three months away from the training pitch because of the coronavirus lockdown, which ended when the players and staff returned to Brockhall on Monday, the Rovers boss is refreshed and ready to go again.

“I haven’t set targets I don’t think it’s good to do that. I look at Roy Hodgson at 72, it’s unbelievable how he’s still going strong in the Premier League,” Mowbray said.

“I don’t know how I’m going to feel at 72. I feel strong, mentally bright, I’ve been talking to my players, to my staff, to all the other managers in the EFL, I’m ready to go.

“I don’t know what tomorrow, next month, next year, brings. I’ve spoken about the three-year cycle of managers and there’s a pretty common theme of managers in modern football burning out, emptying their tank.

“I think this break has been good, maybe three years, you’ve put so much energy, drive and emotion in to it, a break might have been good for managers who, 37 games in to a league season, coming in to the part of the season where you find the winners and the losers, hopefully some energies have been rekindled.

“These last nine games I can’t wait for them, and I’ve told my players they’ll have to be ready for them. The frustration is that when we start back we won’t be able to tackle and compete.”

Rovers resumed training on Monday after all 27 players and 17 members of staff returned negative tests from the first round of Covid-19 testing.

They will continue to be tested twice-weekly, with a three or four-week period of training expected before the possibility of resuming the season next month.

The club have had to adhere to strict guidelines set by the EFL, as well as the social distancing that remains in place, to resume, with the Academy base at Brockhall now their new home for now.

While several areas of the training ground remain closed, including the recreation room, kitchen and gym, Mowbray is happy to be in a position to be able to work with his players, albeit in small groups, once again.

“First and foremost, there’s been a lot of work put in by a lot of people to get to this point,” the manager told the BBC.

“Just to make sure that the players and the staff feel safe when they get their boots on and get back on the grass.

“It’s important that the players feel secure and that everything has been done to make sure that we’re not taking any chances.

“Of course, at any time, someone could put a big pin in the bubble of what’s happening. There could be a spike or an outbreak that puts an end to it, but at this moment we’re on a road back to playing football.

“These are the first steps. All the people with negative tests started on Monday. We’ll be testing twice a week on the back of that and the process will have begun.

“We’ll hopefully try to get to stage two pretty quickly, into some sort of contact, and then stage three will be playing football matches.

“That’s the plan and let’s hope it runs smoothly.”

The Championship clubs are expected to vote in favour next week to resume the season and complete the remaining 108 games.

Rovers will restart in 10th place, three points off the play-offs, and with everything still to play for in the eyes of the manager, Mowbray knows hitting the ground running could improve his side’s chances of breaking in to the top six.

“It feels a little bit like pre-season,” he added.

“How these nine games will unfold we’ll wait and see, but from our perspective we just hope that we can hit the ground running, win some matches, have some confidence, get on a roll and see where it takes us.

“This is the business end of the season, where things can happen. Teams can feel the pressure or teams can grab the momentum and roll with it, and keep winning football matches. It’s exciting.”