Tony Mowbray believes Rovers are moving in the right direction but are still ‘a long way’ from being the finished article.

Back-to-back defeats away to Wigan and Barnsley have been damaging to their play-off hopes, dropping to 10th and five points outside the top six ahead of an unenviable run of games, starting with tomorrow’s visit of leaders Leeds United.

Mowbray has accepted responsibility for the two defeats on the road, but despite the disappointment of the last week, says ‘the bigger picture’ is the progression he has seen from his side in to one capable of challenging for a top six finish.

The manager feels his side are doing ‘okay’, sitting 10th in the table with six games left as they look to improve on last season’s 15th-placed finish in which they amassed 60 points.

But he told the Lancashire Telegraph: “We’re a long way from where I want us to be, we’ve reviewed the game over the last few days and there’s still so much more to get better at.

“We can all be disappointed but are we moving in the right direction? I hope so.

“There’s a bigger picture than losing back-to-back games, we’ve lost more games on the bounce before, it’s how you react and we hope to have a positive performance this weekend and keep pushing on.”

Mowbray branded parts of Rovers’ display at Barnsley ‘unacceptable’, but says he takes responsibility for the two defeats within the last week.

“What I say in the dressing room stays in the dressing room. I can have my opinions on individuals and who did what and what went wrong, who didn’t do this right, but publicly it’s my fault. I’m the manager, I picked the team, I have decisions to make and that’s all,” he added.

“But there’s no underlying story there, other than the manager needs to take responsibility, we lost 2-0. We’re trying to make us a more possession-based team, but we need to take our opportunities and chances.

“Every football club and every manager should take responsibility for the good times and the bad times and while in the bigger picture we’re doing okay, mid-table in the Championship, we’d hope this year to be in the top 10, we had to be pushing for the play-offs for that to be progression for us.

“A week ago we were a point outside the play-offs and had every right to dream and believe. We could still do that, win three games on the bounce and we’ll be right in there going into the last few games.”

Victory over Bristol City on June 20 moved Rovers to within a point of the play-offs. But they failed to take advantage of back-to-back away fixtures against teams fighting to stave off the three of relegation, losing 2-0 at Wigan and Barnsley within the space of four days.

Last week Mowbray said his players face a potentially life-changing five weeks ahead, but they’re now battling to keep their season after a difficult seven days.

Mowbray doesn’t feel Rovers are out of the mix just yet, but accepts it will take a run of excellent results, against teams with their own promotion ambitions, to be in with a shout again.

“We were a point outside the play-offs, so if we had won these last two matches we’d be in the play-offs,” he added.

“We’ve missed an opportunity that’s all. There’s still opportunities for us, we know it will be difficult as the games start to run out and we know we’ve got home games in our next two against the top two in the division, but let’s keep going.

“It would have been nice to play Leeds United on the back of three straight wins, full of confidence, but that’s the case, but we still have to play the game so let’s get on with it.”