Tony Mowbray says Rovers can’t afford to stand still this summer wherever they finish in the table.

Rovers have slipped to their lowest position since the opening month of the season after a run of six games without a win.

They were threatening a push for the top six in January when they won four consecutive matches, but a run of one point from a possible 18 has seen them slip to 17th ahead of this weekend’s game with Preston at Ewood Park.

The Rovers boss believes his side will consolidate their position in the Championship, following promotion last term, having lacked the consistency to push for a play-off spot this term.

He added: “We will finish where we finish, but what I know is that we can’t stand still.

“You have to get better, you don’t know other clubs are going to do.

“Some clubs that miss out on promotion might have to sell their best four or five players and reduce their budget by half and you might be much stronger than them next season.

“We have to realise where we’ve come from, keep building the club and the team from within.”

 Mowbray made five permanent signings in the summer, but the likes of Joe Rothwell, Ben Brereton and Jacob Davenport are with a view to the future.

Indeed, they have made a combined eight league starts between them this season, with Davenport still waiting to make his debut after a frustrating season with injuries.

Having signed just Harry Chapman in the January window, with Kasey Palmer being recalled by parent club Chelsea, in Harrison Reed, Rovers have just one loan player on their books.

With a host of players on extended deals, Mowbray feels they have a good base to work from looking ahead to the summer, but the target has to be on improving the starting XI, having added good depth to the squad last year.

He added: “We’ve signed some young players this year and have some other exciting young players here who will get better in time.

“We’ve talked about improving the starting XI rather than the squad, we’ve been improving the group and the 20 players we believe we can help us do well.

“But at some stage you have to improve the group which is what we will try and do in the next window.”

Meanwhile, Preston are close to selling out the entire Darwen End for Saturday’s 12noon kick-off.

North End have sold in excess of 7,000 tickets having been handed an allocation of 7,499 by Rovers.