Tony Mowbray revealed recruitment work for next season is already well underway - but the Rovers boss is still eyeing a strong end to this campaign.

Rovers have slid down the Championship table after a disappointing run of four points from the last 30 available ahead of tomorrow’s game with Stoke City.

Thoughts have already turned to next season, as Rovers look to recruit players able to improve the starting XI, as well as the depth of squad, in a bid to close the gap to the top six.

But with seven games still remaining, including two at Ewood Park within the next four days, Mowbray knows there is still work to be done.

Rovers’ recruitment will focus on improving a defence which has conceded the fourth most goals this season, as well as adding more Championship experience throughout the team.

“We’re working extremely hard most afternoons now looking at player presentations with the recruitment department on players they think can help our team, improve the starting XI or the matchday 18,” Mowbray said.

“Of course some of them are probably right on the edge of what we want to spend on a player, where their salaries levels are.

“You can look at the really good players who would make a difference but then you find out they are on three times more than the highest salary of one of your players and you can’t get anywhere near it.

“We’re constantly looking just about every day now to try and improve us next year in all areas of the pitch.

“What will have to happen is balancing out how much money we’re spending and where to try and do better than we’ve done this year to try and threaten the top six as we did for a time this season.

“But the depth of our squad, as I’ve talked about, so when the injuries come we have the depth to keep the starting XI really strong.”

Despite a poor run of form, which has seen Rovers win just once since January, they remain 11 points clear of the bottom three with seven games remaining.

That is all but certain to secure another season of Championship football, though Mowbray says a top half finish isn’t out of the question should Rovers have a strong finish to the campaign.

Rovers welcomed four defenders back to their squad for last weekend’s defeat at Aston Villa, with Mowbray hoping the returns of Darragh Lenihan and captain Charlie Mulgrew can bring a turnaround in fortunes.

“I think there’s work to be done for the team. Every game is an opportunity for us,” Mowbray added.

“We’ve done exceptionally well throughout the season but have hit a spell, running in to about eight weeks now, where we have found it really difficult to win games, for various reasons.

“The fact our centre halves haven’t played together for 14 games would be one of the reasons.

“Ultimately, we have lost way too many goals to be challenging for the top six and that is something we will have to address in the summer.”

Mowbray doesn’t believe however, that the final seven games can have any impact on next season, given their desire to strengthen in the transfer window.

He said: “I’m not sure of the significance of it. Over the 46 games, the points you accrue and the position you finish, through the summer that will create the environment of the summer but in my mind, we have to improve the group.

“Every opportunity to improve you have to do that.”