Regrets? Tony Mowbray has had none regarding his top six ambitions for Rovers at the start of the season.

He feels falling well short of the expectations he set is ‘a stick to hit you with’ but accepts that Rovers should be faring much better than they are heading into the final day.

No matter the result against Birmingham City tomorrow, they can’t finish higher than 14th and currently only have three more points than the 51 they were relegated with in 2016/17.

He says the expectation was driven by a desire to improve on the mid-table finishes they recorded in the previous two seasons after promotion from League One in 2018, and says a post-mortem of why things haven’t turned out how he hoped will be done in the coming weeks.

“Was it the right thing to do? I don’t have any regrets,” he said of his pre-season aims.

“I tried to change the mentality of this football team that we’d come up from League One and sitting in mid-table might have been alright for us while we acclimatised to the league but we have to move on, move the parameters.

“The team have to develop, the young players are getting a year or two older and the signings we make have to develop into the team and the loans have to make us better.

“I’ve no regrets. Ultimately it’s a stick to hit you with, I understand that, but I wouldn’t have said it if I wasn’t trying to change the mentality and believe that we should be competing to get into the top six.

“Up until the end of January we were having a go at it, and I look at some of the teams above us, are they better football teams than us? Not in my eyes, and yet statistically that’s the league table and I won’t, and can’t argue with that.

“We will as a staff, and talking to certain players as the season closes down, try and find some answers and talk about what we thought we didn’t happen and what we could have done better and what we need to do moving forward.”

A winless February, in which Rovers took just one point from a possible 18, ended any top six hopes only a month after they looked to have moved in contention with an unbeaten January.

It is that inconsistency which has continued to hold Rovers back for a third successive season, but Mowbray feels there are mitigating factors regarding this 46-game campaign.

“As I’ve been saying it’s ultimately been a disappointing season for us all,” he added.

“I tried to set some targets for ourselves that we haven’t attained so ultimately when you do that it’s frustrating and disappointing.  When you set those targets you don’t know what kind of year you’re going to have, the year has been really difficult for everybody, difficult to manage a football team that can’t spend any time together in tight areas, that can’t sit in rooms analysing things or even eating together where the bonds can be created.

“It’s been a season like no other in all my 40 years in football and that’s not an excuse, that’s a reality.

“It’s a disappointing year in points collected, in number of games won, the fact the team hasn’t developed as we would have liked it to from a positive start.

“I feel without reeling them off in my stomach I’ve got reasons for the season we’ve had, yet as I’ve tried to articulate it’s not how you bond a football team with not having them in the same dressing room, by not allowing them to eat together, to break down games and performances together.

“It’s been a difficult year for everyone.”