Rovers may not have made the strides up the Championship table they would have hoped for in the final nine games, but there was one set of standings where they did make a bid for the top six: possession.

The 3-1 defeat to champions Leeds United aside, Rovers had more possession than the opposition in every other game after the re-start, ending with an average of 52.4 per cent across the 46 games, compared with 50.5 the previous season.

Tony Mowbray sees a direct correlation between the amount of possession enjoyed, and league position, believing the greater control of the ball the greater likelihood of success.

Not in quite the same order, but the top four teams in the division did all end with the highest average possession, although Cardiff City were definitely an exception to the rule, having the least in the division, but still breaking in to the top six.

Rovers will hope to realise that ambition in 2020/21, having fallen short last season, with Mowbray keen to do so by having more possession.

It’s something his teams were noted for prior to his arrival at Ewood Park, but the manager has himself conceded Rovers’ style under his management has been a little different to how he would normally operate.

That has largely been down to the success of his attacking duo Danny Graham and Bradley Dack and built around getting the ball forward as quickly as possible.

But with the former now departed, and a younger, more technical, squad at his disposal, Mowbray feels he has the necessary armoury to implement such a style, and now is the time to do it.

However, equally key will be sourcing a replacement for Tosin Adarabioyo, who without him, Rovers struggled to find any penetration when passing out from the back, demonstrated by frustrating draws over the Christmas period against Wigan and Birmingham.

“We’re trying to become more possession-based. Every team at the top end of this league dominates the ball, they create the most chances,” Mowbray explained.

“It’s not an accident that the highest-possession teams are at the top of the league. Maybe Nottingham Forest break that rule a little bit, but Fulham, Brentford, West Brom, Leeds, they dominate the ball and create chances and history over my managerial career, that’s what I’ve always done.

“I inherited a football club that didn’t have the ability to do that, in my opinion, to dominate the ball. We tried to find a way, we found a way in League One because we didn’t want to be a team that stayed in League One for four, five, six years like some teams have done.

“Here we are on a journey back, football, in my opinion, you have to build teams and what you might you call axons, repetitive thought patterns for players on how we play.

“You build those in training and you have to do all the work, and then it’s how your team understands that, so they can dominate the ball, create chances, score goals, and then keep working on the processes to do what you do as a team.”

While possession and statistics can be used to support, or defend, any particular argument, there are some areas Mowbray will be keen to see his side improve.

Based upon ‘expected goals’, Rovers ended with 11.8 more goals than the quality of chances they created. That will largely be based upon the stunning long range strikes of Adam Armstrong, and was in fact the biggest swing in the division.

Only four sides in the division managed fewer average shots per match than Rovers, and if they are to become more dominant with the ball as the manager wants, coming up with a plan to break down stubborn defences will be key.

The return of Dack from injury will undoubtedly help with both the creating, and taking of chances, but there were times in the defeat at Millwall and Luton where for all their possession, Rovers looked lost when coming up against a low block defence where space was at a premium.

But Mowbray believes repetition on the training ground will help with that.

“The opposition will try and stop you, but they won’t be able to because it’s so built in to you how you play and what you do that every week you dominate the ball, create chances, and score. And that’s not an accident,” he added.

“When you come up against another high-quality team, then you will get tight, close football matches that can swing either way.”

Rovers’ recruitment this summer must focus on the defensive area of the team which has been neglected in terms of permanent additions during Mowbray’s time in charge.

That will likely mean a reliance on the attacking players already at the club to come up with the goods, but Mowbray sees promise in the young players coming through to supplement his squad.

“I’m trying to take this team forward, it’s not easy, doing it bit by bit. But in the club I feel we have some young players who can help us develop and grow but it’s about getting that balance that they might not be physically and mentally ready, but they’re desperate to learn,” he added.

“They are the future. We have some wonderful footballers at this club, football is a balance of attributes, and that can be a mentality, a man doing a man’s job, rather than loads of lads getting bullied in football matches even though they’re desperate to do well for the team.

“You have to get the balance right.”