Tony Mowbray felt an unrecognisable first half display from his team made the defeat to Preston North End particularly tough to take.

Supporters were rightly critical of the side’s display against the near neighbours, a feeling Mowbray shared, particularly in the first half, where they were lacked intensity and a willingness to play forward.

It was a display Mowbray said he didn’t see coming but one he equally wants to put behind Rovers as they prepare for the upcoming game at Barnsley.

“You invest and sacrifice for your football club, time and energy, and I know it’s your job and what you have to do, but sometimes it’s a really frustrating job,” Mowbray explained.

“When you’ve been on a journey you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and that the team is getting there and then you have a performance of 45 minutes where it’s like a black hole and you can’t see it any more and it’s really frustrating.

“It’s disappointing and all the quality from so many wonderful performances this year, even from some of the games we’ve lost I’ve come away and thought ‘if we play like that then we’re going to win a lot of games’.

“I think for 45 minutes against Preston it wasn’t a team I recognised and it’s pretty tough to take.

“At the end of the day you have to come back to work and prepare for the next game which is right infront of us. But Friday was a tough one to take.”

As well as the downbeat nature of his post-match press conference, his lack of presence on the touchline was something picked up by supporters watching from home.

It has been a growing theme for Mowbray this season, partly to avoid getting caught up in constant discussions with the fourth officials over in-game decisions, while also allowing him to step back from the action.

He says the lack of supporters inside the stadium makes it easier for his voice to be heard, as it was against Preston with his constant cries urging his team to play higher up the pitch, lessening the need for him to take to the touchline.

It is an approach he took in the away game at Deepdale in November, and on other occasions as well, with assistant Mark Venus taking up the position patrolling the technical area.

“What I would have to say is with no supporters in the ground, why does the gaffer have to be on the touchline?,” Mowbray said of remaining in his dugout.

“They can hear my voice from 10 rows back, I’m sure you can hear my voice 35 rows back in the stand, as long as the players can hear me, why do they need me on the touchline?

“With total respect to the supporters, I’m a football manager, I know my team, I know what it takes, I know what drives them, I know what they’re all about, what inhibits them.

“I’d argue that Preston away I sat 25 rows back and watched the team and we won pretty comfortably. So it has to work both ways.

“I am interested in what the fans think, but I’m not interested, because I make those decisions and I feel the environment, I feel the situation and I make those decisions.”