Tony Mowbray says it would be unfair to suggest the uncertainty over his, and key players’ futures, has impacted on Rovers’ second half of the season slump.

Defeats to Peterborough United and Stoke City over the Easter weekend leave Rovers with only 11 points from their previous 15 games.

They will likely need to win all three of their remaining games to have any chance of making the play-offs, and could slip as low as 10th before they return to action against Preston North End next Monday.

Mowbray has refused to be drawn on his long-term future, with his deal set to expire in the summer, other than to confirm that there has been no offer of an extended contract.

The club have also reached an impasse with talks over extensions for Ryan Nyambe, Darragh Lenihan and Joe Rothwell, with the trio all set to leave in the summer.

Rovers opted to keep the squad together in the January window, and asked if he felt that had any bearing on how the season has played out, Mowbray told the Lancashire Telegraph: “I think it’s unfair to talk about that, unfair on the players.

“I have my own strong opinions on the way they’ve behaved and reacted.

“What I would say is that they wouldn’t be in the team if I felt that they had downed tools, but I think it’s human nature to make sure you are available at the end of the season when your contract expires and you aren’t sitting with your leg all wrapped up and damaged.

“I think it’s great credit to the players who are out of contract that they have continued to perform at the level they have.”

Mowbray has seen his side go from automatic promotion contenders to now only have an outside chance of the top six, having now failed to score in 11 of the last 17 matches.

And he added: “I know the players, I’ve said for a long, long time they are punching above their weight, there are players emerging in the team, but I feel as though we’re missing the real creativity in the team.

“Khadra and Poveda are individuals who when you give them the ball they dance past people and create opportunities and space in the box.

“Apart from Brereton who is on his way back, we don’t really have anyone. Brereton really should have been rested, yet we couldn’t afford to leave him out.

“It’s a big ask to keep asking him to play matches but the team needs goals.

“I think the league is really tough, there are lots of teams with much more resource than this football team has got, more experienced footballers. If you look at them today and you look at us today, they had a lot of men who’ve been around the block and good footballers.

“We huffed and puffed second half but couldn’t get a goal.

“The reality is that Stoke City are where they are in the division and Blackburn Rovers are three points outside of the play-offs and yet we’re all disappointed of course.”

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