AFTER three successive seasons battling relegation Blackburn Rovers boss Gary Bowyer is relishing the prospect of making a late push for the play-offs.
In-form Rovers make the trip to Sheffield Wednesday today (3.07pm) knowing a third straight victory for the first time in a single season since January 2008 will move them within a point of sixth-placed Reading.
It is a far cry from this stage last season when Rovers headed to Hillsborough for a vital match in their battle to beat the drop.
Bowyer said: “Somebody made the point to me today that at this stage of the last three seasons the club has always been involved in relegation or the talk of relegation.
“Now I’m being asked about being four points away from the play-offs. Now is that progress? Well it is in my eyes.
“And if we can continue to build on that progress over our final five games, then who knows?
“We’ll see where it takes us.”
The 3-2 defeat at the home of the Owls in April last year plunged Rovers into the drop spots with six matches of the 2012-13 campaign to play.
It is a defeat which Bowyer, who was the club’s caretaker manager at the time, will not forget in a hurry.
He said: “After the defeat at Hillsborough we dropped into the bottom three and there were a lot of people who stood back and didn’t put themselves forward because they thought that we were going down.
“I remember those people and I remember the look on some of their faces. I couldn’t rely on people like that to take the club forward and fortunately we haven’t got those type of people around anymore.”
n Blackburn Rovers ended their U21s Premier League season on a high yesterday as they won 1-0 at a West Ham United team featuring England international Joe Cole.
A 61st-minute goal from Darragh Lenihan earned Eric Kinder’s side their first away victory of the campaign.
Rovers boss Kinder said: “If the result had been 4-0 to us then it would have been a truer reflection of the game.
“We were terrific, it was an absolutely outstanding display against some very good players.
“We’ve got a group of players who are honest and want to go out and win the game – and that is what they’ve done. It is a fantastic result to end our season.”
The Rovers squad did not include Tim Payne.
The 20-year-old New Zealand international is on trial at MLS outfit Toronto FC.