Blackburn Rovers head coach Tony Mowbray has told the Lancashire Telegraph that he has challenged Richie Smallwood to earn another contract.

The 27-year-old midfielder signed for Blackburn last year from Rotherham United and quickly became a fan favourite at the Ewood Park. He was one of their top players as the Lancashire side successfully got promotion back to the Sky Bet Championship at the first time of asking. During the promotion season, he scored three times in 52 appearances.

And much to the fans delight, Smallwood signed a new contract with Blackburn which sees his deal now last until 2020. His manager Mowbray said that the new contract was a reward for his form last year but he doesn’t want the former Middlesbrough midfielder to rest on his laurels going into the new season. He has said he’s told Smallwood to continue his performances so he can earn another contract next year!

He said: “I felt he needed rewarding with a new deal, as we have done with a few other players,”

“He came from Rotherham on a free transfer and I’m just trying to align him with other players really.

“I thought he had a good season. It’s a big test for Richie again this season, to play at what we hope will be the top half of the Championship.

“He’s got to step up to the mark and let’s hope he gets another contract in 12 months time.”

Smallwood could be in action again when Blackburn face Liverpool in a pre-season friendly on the 19th July.

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