Much has been made about the difficulty of Rovers tying down their senior players to extended contracts, and that work is only going to become more pressing during the course of next season.

They had the security of one-year extensions in the deals of Ryan Nyambe, Joe Rankin-Costello and Joe Rothwell that will ensure they are under contract for next season.

Bradley Johnson signed an extension, while there remains the prospect of Elliott Bennett and Harry Chapman staying on at Ewood Park to boost the numbers of players under contract heading into 2021/22.

Looking beyond that, player of the year Thomas Kaminski (although there is a one-year option in his deal), captain Darragh Lenihan, top scorer Adam Armstrong and £6m buy Ben Brereton are among those whose deals expire in 2022.

Add in Academy graduates Nyambe, Hayden Carter, Tyler Magloire and Dan Butterworth, as well as midfielders Jacob Davenport, Johnson and Rothwell and you are at more than a teams' worth of players.

Rovers are making attempts to tie down Armstrong, while other negotiations will be ongoing in the background.

Brereton for example, is another that Rovers would want to keep, not least given the investment in him, but also the hard yards of development that have got him to this stage of his career.

The worry is that several other key assets could walk away on free transfers should their futures not be secured, or like with Armstrong, their value will only decrease as time goes on.

Rovers have worked hard to try and get their wage bill under control, their wage to turnover ration continually eye-wateringly high, but that owes as much to the revenue being brought in as it does the salaries paid out.

There have been breakthroughs in talks with Bradley Dack, John Buckley, Tyrhys Dolan and Scott Wharton, all signing extensions within the last six months, and the hope is that there will be more to follow.

However, what those have shown is the protracted length of negotiations, which means Rovers must be forward thinking and look to the future before it’s too late.

As well as contracts offering security to both the club and player, as well as protecting value, what it does do is represent a standing within the club.

While salaries aren't published publicly, there is always an indication of a hierarchy within the squad, and if that doesn’t marry up with the status of the respective players and their importance to the side, then that is when issues can arise.

Academy graduates in particular are often paid less than those brought in from outside, and may well look on with envy on occasion, and while Rovers have improved their dealings with homegrown players in particular, the latest retained list published shows there is still more that can be done.

What the retained list has shown is Rovers also have work to do in the transfer market too.

While they have 22 players under contract for next season who have been in matchday squads previously, that includes Antonis Stergiakis, Hayden Carter, Tyler Magloire and Dan Butterworth who are yet to establish themselves, while Bradley Dack and Scott Wharton won’t be fit until season is well under way.

Harry Pickering is the only new name who wasn’t involved last season, the Crewe left back snapped up on a long-term deal when signed in January, only to be loaned back to the Alex for the remainder of the season.

Rovers did carry a big squad last season, needed at times due to the lengthy list of absentees, with five loan players having since returned to their parent clubs, a further five released and Elliott Bennett and Harry Chapman still weighing up their futures, it means Mowbray’s options are restricted.

And while he will be happy to cut down on the numbers involved in his squad to a more manageable figure, there are areas, not least in central midfield, where they will need to strengthen, alongside assessing their contractual obligations.


2022 - Thomas Kaminski (plus year option), Ryan Nyambe, Darragh Lenihan, Hayden Carter, Tyler Magloire, Joe Rankin-Costello, Bradley Johnson, Jacob Davenport, Joe Rothwell, Adam Armstrong, Ben Brereton, Dan Butterworth

2023 - Antonis Stergiakis (plus year option), Daniel Ayala, Lewis Travis, Bradley Dack (plus year option), Sam Gallagher

2024 - Aynsley Pears, Scott Wharton (plus year option), John Buckley (plus year option), Tyrhys Dolan (plus year option)

2025 - Harry Pickering