Rich Sharpe looks at the things Rovers will have to work on from the recent Championship campaign...


Rovers shipped 69 goals in their 46 league games, the fourth highest tally in the division, branded ‘unacceptable’ by boss Tony Mowbray. Their 48 goals conceded away from home were more than any other team.

They conceded at least twice in 21 matches, scoring at least twice themselves in 12 of those.

There were mitigating circumstances, not least the injuries in defence in February and March which at one stage left them without a recognised senior central defender and coincided with a run of one win in 11 games.

Several games ran away from them on the road, losing 4-1 at Bristol City, 3-1 at Swansea and 4-1 in Preston in games that didn’t reflect such a scoreline.

While Rovers did manage to keep 12 clean sheets, the defensive deficiencies have to be addressed, and the way Mowbray has talked, suggests that will come in the form of reinforcements in the transfer market.


Tony Mowbray probably thought it unlikely at the start of the season that Danny Graham would start 37 of Rovers’ 46 league games, and feature in some capacity in all but three.

Much of that can be attributed to the striker’s fine form, netting 15 league goals and leading the line effectively as he landed the club’s player and players’ player of the year awards.

But no-one has stuck their hand up as a possible replacement, unable to do what Graham does, and addressing that will have to come in the transfer market. Rovers will need to become less reliant on Graham in terms of minutes and goals, but also the way they play.

At times they have been too one-dimensional in playing off his physicality, with Mowbray keen to introduce a more patient style next season.


He was Rovers’ big money buy last summer, and possibly the most talked about player this season.

He ended his wait for a goal in the home win over Bolton but started just six matches.

Unable to dislodge Graham and Bradley Dack in the central attacking positions, Brereton played much of his football out wide.

Mowbray has faith that the 20-year-old will come good, but there will be more scrutiny on him, and more expected, come next season.


Points tossed away from winning positions proved costly for Rovers, and on far too many occasions they let positions of superiority slip.

Of their 12 draws, they led in seven of them and also in four of their 18


Wins at Stoke, QPR and Nottingham Forest should have been more routine than they were, bringing unnecessary pressure late on when looking comfortable.

They also conceded 24 times from the 79th minute onwards in matches.


Rovers went a whole season without winning a game having conceded the first goal.

The last time they did was back in April 2017 at Ewood Park when they beat Peterborough United 3-1.

They went close on several occasions, in away games at Ipswich, Leeds, Birmingham and at home to Nottingham Forest.

Mowbray will have looked at who stood out as leaders during the difficult times this season, having also been dogged by conceding goals in quick succession.

They managed to eradicate that in the closing stages of the season, but too often in the first two thirds of the campaign they found themselves in games, only to be out of them in the blink of an eye.