There has been a feeling that Rovers have been trying to replace Danny Graham for almost as long as he’s been at the club. They have spent a lot of money in trying to find the heir to his throne.

Graham has held off all comers during his time at the club, even up to his departure, and for many, even approaching 35 and with not as much football as he’d have hoped under his belt, he was still the most dependable option in that No.9 role.

Now the striker, so long the figurehead of Rovers’ frontline, has departed, we will now see the readiness of those set to take over.

The best one-touch finisher Mowbray has worked with, Graham leaves Rovers after finding the back of the net 57 times.

Graham felt Rovers took a gamble on him, but in truth they were dealt a great hand when signing him. While he was looking for a home, Rovers got a proven goalscorer, player with a hunger to succeed, and more importantly, someone with a willingness to buy in to everything about the club, someone who cared, something they hadn’t had from similar signings in seasons gone by.

Although part of the side that was relegated to League One in 2017, Graham played a key role in the Rovers revival, a League One promotion campaign which brought with it a renewed energy and momentum that carried on well in to the following season.

He was one of the standout figures in 2017/18, sticking by the club in their hour of need, but the £500,000 arrival of Dominic Samuel, and Mowbray’s preference to play Bradley Dack in behind, plus starting just three of their opening 11 matches, left many questioning whether his Ewood days were numbered.

But never write off Danny Graham is a pattern that has emerged throughout his period at Rovers, having arrived at the lowest ebb of his career.

Graham never pushed to leave in the summer of 2017, eventually winning back his place, and 16 goals and a telepathic understanding with Dack later, Rovers were celebrating promotion.

He took that form in to the Championship campaign, scoring on the opening day at Ipswich Town, one of 16 goals across the campaign, and getting match action in all but three matches.

An understudy, or competition, for Graham had long been on Rovers’ radar, with first Ben Brereton joining in the summer of 2018. At the same time, Graham signed a one-year deal, with an option, the appearance clause met almost immediately, and rubber-stamped in January 2019 through to this summer.

Then came the £5m signing of Sam Gallagher, Graham’s strike partner from three seasons previous, another challenger to his position in the team.

Over time, Mowbray has tried to become less reliant on the physical prowess of Graham which had brought Rovers such success, and become more possession-based, however, as the man himself pointed out, his best goalscoring form of his career came in a Swansea famed for such a style.

The striker was always eager to illustrate his love for the club, and desire to succeed, even stating he’d been happy to see out his days at Ewood Park.

That scenario now won’t happen, but he leaves with the upmost respect of his manager, team-mates and fans, no greater compliment can be put. Whenever fans do get chance to say goodbye, it will be a heartfelt occasion.

And he’s not gone out with a whimper. His absence against Reading was the first time in 108 matches the name of Danny Graham hadn’t featured on a Rovers teamsheet. He’s played 40 times this season, and Rovers’ best spells of form in the Championship over the course of the last two seasons have been with him in the team.

His prominence in the side may have diminished, but he has been Rovers’ most used substitute this season, used 24 times in the Championship, and the sight of Graham getting readied for action in the immediate aftermath of an opposition goal is one we’ve seen on several occasions.

Indeed, that’s how it played out in what will be his Rovers finale at Luton, as they abandoned their possession principles and went route one, with Graham laying on a goal for Gallagher.

He, along with Brereton, Dack and Adam Armstrong will be the four men charged with taking Rovers forward, and while Graham may well have been able to complement them for at least another season, both parties will go in a new direction.

Graham believes he has at least two more years left of his career, and was always at odds to Mowbray’s references to his age in his comments to the press.

But in no doubt is that he departs as a popular figure, on and off the pitch. He will take some replacing, and while Rovers have gained a fan in the boyhood Geordie, wherever he ends up, there will be many hoping that Danny Graham keeps scoring when he wants.    

 Thanks for the memories, the goals, and those trademark celebrations to the Darwen End.