Where Rovers finish, rather than where they have been this season, is of most interest to Tony Mowbray.

Mowbray says the points tally after 46 games, instead of how the season has played out, is what a team should be judged on, but accepted a frustration and disappointment at how Rovers have fallen away in the second half of the campaign.

Rovers were second in the Championship as recently as February 8, but a run of only three wins in 17 in 2022 has seen them fall out of the top six equation.

Defeat to Bournemouth last weekend leaves nothing riding on the final day trip to Birmingham City, and even a win wouldn’t see Rovers beat their Championship high of 70 points since relegation from the Premier League.

A win would better their best tally since promotion from League One, and a top 10 finish appears likely, but a far cry from the lofty position earlier in the year that had Rovers dreaming of a Premier League return after a 10-year exile.

“We were second in the league on February 8, we obviously haven’t finished well, but I’m only really interested in the points total after 46 games,” Mowbray said.

“It’s obviously not enough to make the play-offs, way more than to have any concerns about being dragged into a relegation battle.

“From where we got to, it’s ultimately frustrating, but from where we got to, that was quite amazing for this team.

“Ultimately you have to judge every season on where you finish.

“We are just going to finish above middle of the table, is it progress? Possibly, because of the fact that for a lot of this season we were higher than where we’re going to finish.

“We’ve been at the top end of the season for much of the season, rather than where we’ve been for a few seasons having come out of League One and looking to not get sucked into the bottom end of the table.”

Mowbray said he would reflect on the season as one of highs and lows. It sparked into life with a six-game winning run to end 2021, but the picture has been much different since the turn of the year.

It has left a sense of disappointment, but also a missed opportunity, given the way the league has opened up.

Ahead of his final match in charge, Mowbray said: “I think my reflection is, as I’ve said to the players, they have to enjoy the ride along the way.

“Life as well as football is highs and lows and you get used to it.

“We’re obviously left frustrated and disappointed at the end of it.

“Hopefully finishing in the top half of the table, threatening the play-offs for a long period, being up in the top six for four months of the season, almost daring to dream that we can become a Premier League football team in the near future, we have to take the positives that we’ve enjoyed the journey but ultimately not the end result.

“We’ve been up there competing and hopefully the club can continue in that vein.

“Hopefully the club continues to grow and there’s no reason not to.

“Some years in the Championship, people will say ‘it’s not as strong this year’ but next year looks like being pretty strong depending on who’s coming down from the Premier League, and some huge clubs could be coming up, as well as Wigan and Rotherham who are coming up automatically.

“Then you look at some of the clubs who haven’t made it out of the division this year, it’s going to be a strong league next year I think.”

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