BLACKBURN Rovers boss Gary Bowyer and captain Grant Hanley insist the team's current mid-table standing should not detract from the progress they believe it has made this season.
Twelve months ago this weekend Rovers, with Bowyer then in caretaker charge, slipped into the bottom three after a 3-2 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday.
Today they welcome Ipswich Town to Ewood Park looking for a win that would keep their faint play-off flame flickering.
After a run of just one victory in eight games Rovers find themselves seven points off the top six with seven matches left.
But Bowyer prefers to point to the fact that his side are unbeaten in five games – after a run of four consecutive draws and a win at Huddersfield Town – and that it was only a year ago that the club was in serious danger of suffering a second successive relegation.
He said: “You could say we’ve won one in eight but that’s a negative mindset and I can’t deal with people who have got a negative mindset.
“This time last year we were talking about staying in the division so the progress that has been made has been good.
“The people we’ve brought into the club have been good and they will just get better the more and more time they spend together as unit.
“We’ve got seven big games, we’ll tick them off one by one and see where we are at the end of them.”
Skipper Hanley was part of the side which went down by the odd goal in five at Hillsborough a year ago, a result which left Rovers in the relegation places with six games of a turbulent campaign to play.
Hanley said: “We’ve come a long way in the last year if you look at the situation we found ourselves in a year ago.
“I think it’s important that we look at that and see how far we’ve come as a team, a group and a club, and as long as we stick together we can only go forward.
“The club is totally different to a year ago, it’s a much better place to be. I know we’d like to be higher up the league, and I think we’re probably unlucky not to be, but we’re still a young team who has only been put together this season.
“There’s still a lot of work to do but I’m sure we’ll get it right.”
Hanley and his team-mates attended a meeting on Thursday in which the coaching staff made it clear to them they must cut out the mistakes that has led to Rovers conceding 18 goals in their last eight matches.
Bowyer said: “The challenge now for the players is to show the levels of performances they’ve been producing and see if they can get the win those performances deserve.”