Tony Mowbray believes an improved Ewood Park pitch, and the return of supporters, will be key to Rovers enjoying better fortunes on their home pitch.

Rovers rattled off three successive home wins to finish the season, the second time they had managed that on home soil, running in 12 goals in victories over strugglers Derby County, Huddersfield Town and Birmingham City.

Mowbray’s side also ran in five unanswered goals against Wycombe Wanderers in their opening home fixture, but managed just five home wins in their next 19 before an upturn in fortunes to end the season.

There were seven defeats in those 19 games, with Nottingham Forest, Reading, Norwich City, Preston North End, Watford, Brentford and Bournemouth all leaving Ewood with all three points, while seven others claimed a point.

The playing surface came in for criticism, not helped by a cold snap to start 2021, which led to Rovers having to train on the first-team pitch with those at their Brockhall training base frozen.

There was an improved look to the pitch for their final matches of the season however, and Rovers have now begun a three-month maintenance programme to get it up to scratch for the 2021/22 campaign.

A six-figure fee will be spent on the Ewood pitch, and those at the Senior Training Centre, but there won’t be the implementation of a ‘stich pitch’ that chief executive Steve Waggott had hinted at earlier in the year.

Rovers hope the extra preparation time will benefit them, having had just a five-week turnaround last summer, and in turn, Mowbray believes that should bring with it the chance of better results.

He said: “I probably shouldn’t mention the pitch, but is it a coincidence, that now it’s lush like it was at the start of the season, we’re scoring lots of goals on it and moving the ball really quickly on it? I personally don’t think it’s a coincidence.

“I think we need a good pitch and I know we live in the north west and it rains a lot.

“I think, behind the scenes, the club are working really hard to try and give us the best surface on which to play football. It’s not an accident that I said we were going to be more possession-based and try to score more goals and yet, that’s really hard to do when the pitch isn’t in pristine condition as it evens things out a bit.

“That’s the end of my moaning on the pitch, but I try to bring hard work, integrity and honesty with my team and I try to be honest with the supporters.

“I love my job, I love working here. I love working with young players, trying to improve them and coaching a team, yet the results, overall, haven’t been good enough this year, for whatever reason maybe it is due to the lack of crowd driving us on?

“Our home record hasn’t been anywhere near as strong as it has been in recent years. Is that because of the fan’s absence? Is it because of the pitch?”

The three home wins to finish ensured that it wasn’t Rovers’ worst return from home matches since relegation from the Premier League.

They managed just 32 in 201/16 and 2016/17, but their nine point haul to end the season saw them claim 36 from their 23 home fixtures.

That is three fewer than 12 months before, while their first season back in the Championship after promotion from League One saw them collect 37.

However, the same defeats is the joint-most of the last eight seasons, but the late flurry of goals scored meant their tally of 37 equalled that of 2014/15.