Blackburn Rovers manager Tony Mowbray has said that the club had to make a tough decision over the futures of Charlie Mulgrew and Danny Graham. The duo have been a key part of the club’s plans over the past few years, but they have been released at the end of the current season with the club aiming to evolve with newer recruits.
Speaking after the final game of the campaign, he told: “It’s time to move and to create a new team that gets people talking about the team of 2020-21. That’s what football is. It’s not personal at all because I love these guys. Every time I don’t pick a [Charlie] Mulgrew, a Graham or a Smallwood, it hurts because we’ve been on a journey together and they’ve won amazing games. Charlie Mulgrew scored 30 goals across two seasons from centre half, and yet the club has to move on and the team has to evolve. When I sit them in the office and have a chat to them, we’re speaking as friends really, two guys.”
The Rovers were one point behind the sixth spot after one game into the restart and that led to suggestions that they could make the push for the play-offs. However, their performances were pretty poor thereafter and they accumulated only seven points from the next eight games. Hence, they finished seven points adrift of the top-six and that should disappoint the fans, who were awaiting a potential promotion challenge.
With the new season starting in seven weeks’ time, Rovers will need quick planning to reinforce the squad and it remains to be seen whether Mowbray is backed with any funds. The club have generally preferred to pursue free transfers and loan deals since their promotion to the Championship few years ago. Sam Gallagher was their sole cash purchase last summer for £5.85m.