TONY Mowbray hopes Lucas Joao can continue to provide options for Blackburn Rovers until the end of the season, but wants the Sheffield Wednesday loanee to add a ruthless streak to his game.

Joao was handed his first Rovers start against Preston last weekend after three goals in two substitute appearances at Norwich and Fulham.

The 23-year-old went close to scoring in the first-half against North End, but also wasted a number of good opportunities to get shots away on the edge of the box.

And the Rovers head coach is looking for the Portuguese forward to add more end product to his game, despite declaring himself happy his contribution.

“He hit the inside of the post with a header (against Preston), he has the physical presence to score if you’re going to be a team that puts the ball in to the box, as he can score with his head,” Mowbray said.

“If anything he over elaborated once or twice around the edge of the box.

“He has to have more of a ruthless streak and hit it when he gets a yard of space either side.

“But I thought he was a threat, he played extremely well, he linked up well with Marvin (Emnes), he was a spearhead to the team and hopefully he continues to be a good option for us between now and the end of the season.”

Joao was used from the left when introduced at Norwich, but came on for Danny Graham at Fulham to play through the middle alongside Emnes.

The pair linked up to good effect almost immediately to win a penalty which Craig Conway converted, before Joao scored a 95th minute equaliser.

That prompted Mowbray to start both Joao and Emnes together, and the head coach says their close relationship off the pitch has been beneficial.

“He’s got a very tight relationship with Emnes, they’re best mates, travel in together and are always laughing and joking together, and I thought it was the right time to play him,” Mowbray added of Joao.

“He had scored three in two games, scored twice at Norwich and then came off the bench at Fulham and I thought he terrorised their centre halves.

“Speaking to (Slavisa) Jokanovic after (the Fulham game), he was unaware of his talent, his power, and the cleverness of his feet.

“I think while the iron is hot, you don’t turn it down, and Danny was unavailable and Sam (Gallagher) was just coming back from injury.”

Joao was Rovers’ only new addition during the January transfer window but the Rovers’ squad is starting to look stronger with each player that returns from injury, with Mowbray having an almost fully fit squad to choose from.

Danny Graham has undergone surgery on a groin injury during the international break which could rule him out of the trip to Brighton on April 1, but the head coach is happy with the options at his disposal.

But Mowbray admits it has led to him making some big calls, such as leaving out Tommie Hoban against Preston following the return of Charlie Mulgrew despite the Watford loanee impressing in his outings at both Norwich and Fulham.

“It was a really tough decision to leave Hoban out because he is a really focussed individual,” Mowbray said.

“He is a real powerful, six foot three defender who does what it says on the tin, he heads it, puts his body on the line, but Mulgrew is such an integral part of our team, his composure and ability to pick a pass can help our team play how we want to play.

“With Corry (Evans) coming back and Hope Akpan on the bench we have good options in most areas now.

“I’m excited by the squad, I think it’s deep and there will be problems soon on the bench because there a lot of decent footballers to pick from.”