One contract decision revealed, several more to go.

Tony Mowbray confirmed that Lewis Holtby has played his final game for the club with the 30-year-old having not been offered a new deal to extend his stay at Ewood Park beyond the two years he has had.

Holtby was left out of the squad for the draw at Rotherham United, having also not featured at Sheffield Wednesday in their previous away fixture, his last start coming in the 2-1 win over Derby County last month.

Out of contract watch has become a key part of Rovers’ team selection in recent weeks.

Ryan Nyambe and Joe Rothwell have both continued to start despite their deals running out this summer, though their cases are different to the rest in that the club are, at the very least, expected to trigger the 12-month options within their deals.

Moving into midfield, it was a straight swap, Bradley Johnson in for Corry Evans who dropped to the bench alongside fellow out of contract player Elliott Bennett, with Stewart Downing again not involved for a second successive match.

Mowbray was left with little alternative but to start Taylor Harwood-Bellis at centre half, the Manchester City loanee continuing to impress, and was the only of Rovers’ borrowed players to start once again.

Barry Douglas was on the bench again as Amari’i Bell made his second successive start, the first time he has done that since the festive period. The Jamaica international rounds off the list of out of contract players and his future may not be as cut and dry as many had expected.

Left back is a position Rovers have struggled to find a settled performer, Bell the one constant throughout the three years in the Championship, as well as the second half of the League One campaign.

Rovers moved to bring in Greg Cunningham and Barry Douglas on loan in each of the last two seasons, the Leeds Untied man starting 29 times to Bell’s 14.

Bell, aged 26, made 19 starts last season, and 35 in 2018/19, and while he has struggled to convince enough to make the spot his own during his time at Ewood Park, he has still made 98 appearances since signing for Fleetwood Town in January 2018.

His deal was extended through to 2021 after Rovers secured promotion from League One, and at the time of his signing he was considered the best in the third tier.

Rovers have since done the same, moving for the impressive Harry Pickering from Crewe Alexandra, the 22-year-old to join in the summer after being loaned back to the League One club where he has captained them in every single fixture despite now being a loan player.

Douglas’ future looks set to lie away from both Ewood Park, and his parent club Leeds United, where his contract expires this summer, but could there be a chance of Bell securing an extended stay at Rovers?

For Rovers, a deal could make sense. For similar wages as they are paying Leeds to borrow Douglas for the season, they could have both Bell and Pickering under contract for next season.

It will be Pickering’s first taste of life in the Championship and while he is an undoubted talent, there may well be some acclimatising to do, and having someone accustomed to the division in competition could be no bad thing.

With several senior players on the books out of contract, Rovers will free up some finance, their turnover to wage ratio hovering around the 150 per cent mark, despite having got a wage structure in place.

So two players for the price of one would be smart business, yet it would obviously require Bell to sign it.

The free agent market has been a prosperous one in the past, but the picture this summer will be very different as many clubs look to cut their cloth, so should an offer be forthcoming for Bell, then that could be some security.

His return to the side feels very similar to that of Jayson Leutwiler at the back end of the 2018/19 season when the Canadian was handed a chance between the sticks as Rovers weighed up his future.

Rovers head into their final game of the season against Birmingham City and the way Mowbray has been talking suggests that their retained list is all but finalised.

Were Bell to be offered, and subsequently sign a deal, then that would be one less position to recruit, while triggering options in the deals of Nyambe and Rankin-Costello would leave Rovers with the full back positions sorted for at least next season.

And that would be just the start of the summer rebuilding job.