Tony Mowbray was non-committal over what the future holds for Stewart Downing whose time as a player at Ewood Park looks set to come to an end.

Downing hasn’t made either of the last two matchday squads and travelled with the Under-23s to Chelsea on Friday night as part of the support team to manager Billy Barr. The 36-year-old has hinted that retirement could follow this summer having started just two league matches for Rovers this season, with 15 further appearances as a sub.

Downing did work within the Rovers Academy structure over the summer as he continues to work on his coaching qualifications, returning to the club as a player in November having made an excellent impact last season when joining as a free agent.

“Those conversations are ones for the summer. At the moment there’s no space open at our football club for him, whether he sees his future as coaching we’ll wait and see,” Mowbray said of Downing’s future.

“Stewart has got contacts at a lot of clubs, he’s played for some top, top clubs in his career and there are a lot of people who like Stewart Downing’s personality and what he brings, he might want to play another year, I don’t know.

“He went to Chelsea, not to play but to help Billy on the bench and talk to the team.

“We’ll see what Stewart Downing decides is best for his career for him and his family.”

Mowbray confirmed that Lewis Holtby, also left out of the squad against Rotherham United, won’t be part of Rovers’ plans moving forward as the manager starts to shape his squad for next season.

Bradley Johnson and Corry Evans, two of Rovers’ senior midfield options, are also out of contract in the summer, while Tom Trybull will see his loan deal come to an end.

Other players out of contract are Amari’i Bell, who has started the last two matches, as well as club captain Elliott Bennett.

The club have options in the deals of Ryan Nyambe and Joe Rothwell, as well as Harry Chapman who is out on loan at League One side Shrewsbury Town.