Tony Mowbray has stressed the importance of tying the club’s star names down to extended contracts during talks over the international break.

The Rovers boss has sights on the top six this season, and feels he has assembled a squad capable of doing so when fully-fit, but says the club must look to protect their key assets.

Bradley Dack is into the final year of his deal, though a 12-month option can be exercised, while Adam Armstrong, top scorer in the Championship is under contract until 2022.

A number of rising stars, such as Ryan Nyambe and Joe Rankin-Costello see their deals expire next summer, and Mowbray says doing so has to be high on the club’s agenda.

“We have expectations ourselves and I’m trying to transmit that to the owners to protect some of the assets that we’ve got,” Mowbray explained.

“I know it’s cost a few more quid to put a couple more years on some key players’ contracts, but I think those sort of things we need to look at because I’m excited by the team.

“I have spoken to the owners over the last week and told them I think we have some really talented players in this club and the team is coming together.

“It’s suffered a bit through Covid over the last couple of months, and the odd injury, but when this squad gets back to a level of almost being fully-fit we are going to be quite a force in this league.

“We’ve shown on occasions we can score goals, create lots of chances, and I’m genuinely excited. We have a fantastic group of young players and we’re hoping they can fulfil their potential as we move forward.”

Mowbray has travelled to Pune in each of the summers since his appointment in February 2017, apart from this one, and travelled to Switzerland in February 2019 to meet owner Balaji Rao.

Communication between the club’s hierarchy at Ewood and the owners in India is regular, and after this week marking a decade in charge, Mowbray is looking to get Rovers back to the Premier League.

“I work hard for them to try and be successful. I want to give them a team the supporters believe in. I can’t guarantee that,” said Mowbray, whose own deal runs to 2022.

“We had to get out of League One and we did and as I sit here now I genuinely believe we have a chance of making the top six this year, and if we don’t, next year if we can keep these players, we should be one of the favourites to get out of this division.

“That’s my genuine ambition for the team. When I come in every morning to training with these players I think we can get there in the next year or two.

“I think the future is bright, we have assets, those players are in our squad now and I’m not sure they were three or four years ago.

 “I would like before we sell any players to see how far we can take this group of footballers on our own first.”