A ROVERS legend believes reaching the play-offs will be a big ask at Ewood Park next season.

Premier League winner Mark Atkins thinks the top 10 is a more realistic aim as Tony Mowbray’s men look to build on 15th on their return to Championship last season.

The 50-year-old, who watches plenty of Rovers matches in his role as a radio pundit, admits however that plenty depends on recruitment in the coming weeks with former England winger Stewart Downing the only new arrival thus far.

“I think they will be aiming for the top 10,” said Atkins, who made more than 300 appearances for the club in all competitions.

“If they get on a good run and get to seventh or eighth then maybe they can push on but a realistic aim is the top 10. I think it will be about consolidation though and to try and get as far up the table as they possibly can.

“I can’t see them pushing for the play-offs but it depends on recruitment and the players they can get in and they need two or three.”

When it comes to which positions Mowbray needs to try and strengthen, Atkins believes there are clear areas where they can improve.

“They are better equipped in certain positions that others,” he said.

“Their defensive record wasn’t great and getting that better, even with the players they’ve got, will given them a better chance of winning games.

“They threw plenty away last season.

“Obviously there’s scoring goals too - getting things right at both ends of the pitch will be the biggest thing.

“I’m sure they’ll be looking for another centre forward to help out Danny Graham.

“He’s doing great but his legs aren’t going to last forever and they need someone to support him.”

Downing may be the only signing of the summer transfer window thus far but Atkins believes he represents a fine addition, especially given the departure of Craig Conway who is on the lookout for a new club after coming to the end of his Rovers contract.

“Downing is a good signing,” Atkins said.

“Charlie Mulgrew takes a lot of them but he has so much quality on free-kicks, set pieces and just has great delivery.

“He’s got plenty to offer in open play and brings great experience as well.

“With Conway going they needed to get some experience in the wide areas.”

Downing clearly represents the kind of footballer Mowbray wants to work with, especially as he looks to change Rovers’ style in the coming campaign.

“I think for the last couple of years he’s wanted to move towards a more possession-based style,” said Atkins.

“Everyone wants to play that style of football but those players who are good on the ball don’t come cheap.

“Stewart Downing has great quality on the ball but it’s more about those two players in the middle of the park and the full backs in that system.

“It will be interesting to see how it goes.”