JASON Lowe believes Blackburn Rovers are firmly back on track.
The Rovers academy graduate has lived through the most turbulent period in the club’s history, but he reckons there are genuine reasons for optimism going into next season.
It will be the third year running Rovers have spent outside the Premier League after their relegation in 2012.
But Lowe is quietly confident that they can end their top-flight exile by building on the foundations they have laid under boss Gary Bowyer.
“I’ve been in and around the club for a few years now and it’s certainly back on track to where it used to be,” said the midfielder, for who Bowyer is the fourth permanent manager he’s played under since making his debut for Rovers in January 2011.
“The feel around the place and the spirit around the place is good again – and you could see that by the fans’ reaction at the end of the last game of the season against Wigan.
“It’s a good place to work again and it’s an enjoyable place to work again and hopefully we can take that positivity into next season.”
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Lowe credits Bowyer, who led Rovers to eighth and within two points of the Championship play-offs in his first full season in charge, as being one of the biggest inspirations between Rovers’ improvement on the pitch.
“The gaffer and his staff have been brilliant all year,” said the 22-year-old, whose first senior goal – a 25-yard stunner at home to Middlesbrough in November – was voted Rovers’ best of the season.
“The attitude of the manager is infectious and his will to win, his mentality and his character goes right throughout the squad.”
Rovers ended the campaign unbeaten in 12 games and Lowe admits the players wished it had not come to an end.
He added: “We’ve come on leaps and bounds and it is credit to the boys that they’ve laid the foundations for next season.”
Bowyer yesterday had a meeting with Rovers managing director Derek Shaw, director of communications Alan Myers and secretary Ian Silvester after returning from a short holiday following his end-of-season meeting with the club’s owners Venky’s in India.
The Rovers boss will now continue his preparations for the 2014-15 campaign and intends to strengthen his squad.
But with Financial Fair Play coming into force in January, he will also have to attempt to reduce the club’s wage bill.
Bowyer also has to resolve the futures of his two out-of-contract senior players, David Dunn and Markus Olsson.