It may be faint praise, but Blackburn Rovers under Tony Mowbray are among the best sides ever to suffer relegation from the Championship.
Having impressed following the experienced gaffer’s February arrival, there’s little doubt they’ll mount a serious challenge for the League One title this term. Especially with Mowbray having strengthened their ranks considerably this summer.
Star buys have boosted Rovers’ chances
The Saltburn-born boss has added well, with two especially eye-catching signings among his summer acquisitions.
Bradley Dack – snapped up from Gillingham for £750k – was a talismanic presence at Priestfield last term, registering five goals and seven assists in 34 league games, to ensure a final-day survival for the third-tier strugglers.
With a better strike force in front of him at Ewood Park, you can expect that assists column to be even more impressive in the coming campaign.
Peter Whittingham has also joined the Blackburn ranks, and at 32-years-old, he’s still showing no signs of slowing up. The set-piece specialist netted seven times from midfield in 2016-17, and with over 500 career appearances to his name, adds real pedigree to the Lancashire outfit.
They – and the other squad additions – will add an extra dimension to a side who, during Mowbray’s time last season, already showed some real signs of revival.
Post-Coyle record last season was strong
After averaging just 0.93 points per game in their 31 Championship outings under Owen Coyle last term, Rovers drastically improved with Mowbray at the helm, taking 22 points from 15 outings (1.47 per match).
Having a summer to make the squad his own has only helped the 53-year-old build a promotion-winning side, and it’s something he’s proven capable of before.
He chalked up promotion to the Premier League in 2008 with West Bromwich Albion, leading the Baggies to a title triumph in his first full season in charge.
And if Rovers fans are looking for another positive omen, the last time their side were relegated to the third-tier, back in 1979, they won promotion at the first time of asking.
There’s also inspiration to be taken from the resurgence of North-West rivals Bolton Wanderers.
Another big club who sank to this level 12 months back, the Trotters were in far worse shape than Blackburn at the beginning of the campaign. But they eventually grabbed automatic promotion, having beaten off the challenge of Fleetwood Town and Scunthorpe United.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing