CAPTAIN Jason Lowe was one of six first-team players released by Blackburn Rovers following relegation to League One.
But a contract has been offered to 20-year-old Connor Mahoney in a bid to keep the talented attacker at Ewood Park.
Lowe, 25, leaves Rovers having played 196 times for the club since his debut in the FA Cup win over QPR in January 2011.
He is the highest profile of the six departures having skippered Rovers this season.
Adam Henley, who like Lowe also represented Rovers in their Premier League days, was also let go along with fellow defenders Wes Brown and Gordon Greer. Central midfield pair Hope Akpan and Danny Guthrie, who both joined the club in the summer of 2015, were also released.
Rovers have been locked in contract talks with Mahoney for much of the calendar year but the winger has attracted plenty of interest.
He became the club’s third youngest debutant when he made his debut in the FA Cup third round replay at Manchester City in January 2014.
The talented attacker has had to be patient since, but became a key member of the side after Mowbray’s arrival as head coach in February.
Mowbray has made no secret of his desire to keep Mahoney at the club, but should he opt to leave then Rovers would be due compensation.
The departures of six first-team players, as well as five loan players returning to parent clubs, will have helped Rovers bring down a wage bill which was the ninth-biggest in the Championship.
Lowe was among the club’s highest earners, while Henley benefited from signing a deal just after the club were relegated from the Premier League.
It leaves Rovers with 15 players on the books who have already represented the first-team.
Under contract are: Jason Steele, David Raya, Ryan Nyambe, Elliott Ward, Charlie Mulgrew, Darragh Lenihan, Scott Wharton, Derrick Williams, Corry Evans, Willem Tomlinson, Elliott Bennett, Craig Conway, Liam Feeney, Danny Graham and Anthony Stokes.
The club are also speaking to full-back Lewis Travis about extending the one-year deal he signed last summer after an impressive season for Damien Johnson’s Under-23 side.
Scholars Charley Doyle, Joe Grayson, Tyler Magloire and Stefan Mols have all been offered professional terms, but Ben Ascroft, Alex Curran, Mason Fawns, Callum Hendry, Matthew Makinson, Tre Pemberton, Joel Steer and Ben Williams have all been released.
Ramirez Howarth, Josh Askew and Josh Powell have been told they won’t be offered new deals.
A club statement read: “Rovers would like to place on record their thanks to each player for their hard work and dedication during their time at Ewood Park and wish them all the best for the future.”