Blackburn Rovers midfielder Richie Smallwood was left on the bench for the start of Saturday’s narrow 1-0 draw over. It was the first time he hasn’t started for Rovers in an amazing 57 League games, as new signing Jack Rodwell started in midfield.

The 27-year-old came on for the final 20 minutes to help Blackburn Rovers see out the game and bring all three points back to Ewood Park.

The decision to rest Smallwood was one of four changes for the match, as it was for the rest of the players. Mowbray told the Lancashire Telegraph:

“It was based on six games in 21 days,” Mowbray explained.

“At times you can’t keep asking him to go back to the well and there are times in games when I see him blowing hard but digging in and keep running.

“On the other side of the coin, if you have a squad of players, when do you trust them and actually put them on the grass?

“Otherwise we won’t have people that will believe in the coach when he says he believes in everybody.

“So I put them on and gave them that opportunity.”

The unity between the players and fans was shown at the end of the match, as players spent time at the end of the match in front of over 2,400 Rovers fans, with some players throwing their shirts into the crowd. Mowbray was pleased by the scenes, as a bond between the players and fans is something he values highly.

It’s something I stress to the players, they have to create an affinity with the supporters.

“They have to try and buy some goodwill back by exposing their souls. They have to show they care and want to play for this club.

“Then they should celebrate with the fans when they win.

“It’s a lot of money to pay to watch football, they travelled in big numbers, and I’m delighted for them.

“As I’ve said before, I hope there’s a day down the line when we can have 20,000 at Ewood every week and come and appreciate a team fighting for them and trying to win promotion back to the Premier League.”

After a busy schedule, Mowbray and his side have a period of rest to prepare for their clash with Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United side on Saturday 20th of October after the International break has ended.

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