Tony Mowbray says the time to judge whether Rovers are falling below his expectations will come at the end of the season.

Rovers are now 10 points outside the top six and remain in the top half only because of goal difference following a 2-1 defeat at Barnsley.

They suffered a third successive defeat for the first time this season, with three defeats in February following an unbeaten January that moved them into top six contention.

That was Mowbray’s aim at the start of the season, but with 17 games to go, Rovers are still 24 points shy of matching last season’s tally of 63 that was three better than their first season back in the Championship following promotion from League One in 2017/18.

Asked if he felt his side were falling below the expectations he set, Mowbray said: “I don’t know, we’ll judge it at the end of the season.

“We just have to keep trying to get more points.

“We got 63 points last season. I said that we have to strive to get towards 70 points, generally 70-75 points will get you into the play-offs.

“With the 17 games left we have to keep going.”

Rovers have continued to fall out of contention just as they made their way into it, a pattern that has blighted their progress in the Championship ever since promotion.

Asked about that, Mowbray added: “We are the team we are, with total respect to Blackburn Rovers, we haven’t been tearing it up in the Premier League for a long time now, we’re trying, we’re striving like every team who are in the same boat.

Bristol City have been striving for the last few years, but fallen away, Middlesbrough, I could reel off five or six teams whose ambition is to make the top six but the inconsistency is there for all of the teams.

“For all of the reason I’ve spoken to you about for weeks and weeks and weeks, the injury situation with the players playing so many games in a short space of time, the deterioration of the pitches through a tough winter because of the lack of preparation time the groundstaff have had, because one season finished and then the other one started.

“You are going to get inconsistency and we are no different to the majority of teams in the Championship. There’s only Brentford who have put together a fantastic run that Barnsley finished the other day.

“Most other teams are finding it difficult to keep unbeaten runs going, as we have.

“I’m sure there’s another unbeaten run around the corner it’s just whether we can make it like the last one, we’ll have to try and do that a couple of times between now and the end of the season if we’re going to have any chance of making the play-offs.”