Tony Mowbray has ruled out any extensive spending in January and says the situation surrounding Rovers’ out of contract players will have a bigger say on potential deals this month than league position.

Having three first-team regulars out of contract in the summer is a ‘grey area’ that leaves Mowbray planning for the long-term rather than simply on maintaining a push for promotion in the second half of the season.

Rovers will complete a deal for Hertha Berlin right back Deyovaisio Zeefuik while Mowbray says three or four other deals are also being worked on.

Yet there is set to be no lavish spending this month, despite Rovers well-placed in the promotion race with 21 games remaining, and while Mowbray would like to focus on keeping the current squad together, he knows he must look to plan ahead.

And all that will be under a tight budget.

He told the Lancashire Telegraph: “I’ve always worked under the budgets that we’re given, I don’t dictate the budgets and what we can do and what we can spend.

“What I can do is enquire about players and yet invariably the best players you want to sign cost more money and you need a bigger budget.

“I know it’s a great opportunity for us because of the position we’ve put ourselves in but we still have restrictions. We have to stick to them.

“This club it does live, like all Championship clubs, under the restrictions of Profit & Sustainability and income and expenditure and we have to be very mindful of that situation.

“I don’t sit here sitting here thinking we’re going to spend millions and millions.”

Keeping the squad together had been viewed by some supporters as the biggest priority this month, but Mowbray has made clear his intention to strengthen.

He would prefer that to be with permanent additions, with only £450,000 spent in the summer when Tayo Edun was brought in from Lincoln City.

Asked how much the current league position had altered his plans, Mowbray said: “Not much in my mind because I’ve always said we’re trying to grow a club and build permanent signings to come in and want to play for Blackburn Rovers and improve and get stronger and better.

“We have to be mindful in this window of the out of contract players. That’s the grey area in all of this.

“It’s not about league position, there might be some gaping holes in our squad in June and how many of those players, if they get to the end of January and start of February and they’re still out of contract and leaving this club four months after that, my mind is thinking about filling those holes.

“If I see a drop off in those players then obviously they can’t play in our team if they’re protecting themselves against injury.

“We have to give everything for the club and those positions and those places really need covering and replacing if I see a drop off in their performance level.”

Rovers chief executive Steve Waggott raised the prospect in September of allowing Ryan Nyambe, Darragh Lenihan and Joe Rothwell to leave in January if they weren’t to sign new deals.

The club face the prospect of losing them on free transfers in the summer having not committed their futures to the club, but they remain key members of the side that have moved into the top six with a nine-game unbeaten run.

“The grey areas might be that if we sell someone we might have money and how much of a percentage of that do we get to reinvest back into the team,” Mowbray pondered.

“What’s the best thing, to keep this team together and let three or four players walk away for nothing?

“Or do we sell one of them and use the money to reinvest?

“Those are the conundrums for the team, the club and for us all.

“The difficulty for me would be to leave it as it us, get to the end of the season and three or four players leave and get better deals elsewhere and the budget stays the same and we haven’t got money other those salaries to replace them with.

“We wouldn’t then be able to go and spend a million here and there because we haven’t got any more income.

“Sometimes we have to sell one and use that money to bring our own permanent players in.

“Those are difficult decisions because you don’t really want this team to break up. I would prefer to take this team until the end of the season and see where we can get to.”

Asked if he was discussing a hypothetical situation, or that a club had tested the water with a bid, Mowbray responded: “There’s always potential. I’m just dealing with the reality.

“I work closely with Steve (Waggott), Suhail (Pasha) and Mark (Venus) and we’ll try and do the right thing for the club and try and make the tough decisions if they have to be made.

“There’s the balance and conundrum for the support base.

“Do you keep this team together knowing that you’re going to lose three or four potentially in the summer or do you cash in with the awareness that you’re going to use that money and reinvest it back in and hope you can improve the team.

“Because once you get to the summer and you lose some very key footballers, without any extra money to replace them, the team isn’t going to get stronger it’s going to get worse.”