Preston North End boss' advice from Blackburn Rovers boss set him on his way
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They were pacesetters at one point, getting themselves as high as second in the league with talk of a title charge at the turn of the year.
On February 8, Rovers were second in the table and since that date no side has picked up fewer points in the Championship.
They have won just two of 13 with QPR and Birmingham the next worst, both picking up 12 points.
Having been firmly in the play-off places, missing out would be a huge disappointment to all the fans.
There is growing discontent in East Lancashire at the way the season has panned out and over the future of boss Tony Mowbray.
Though Mowbray was relegated with Blackburn, he saw them back into the division at the first attempt and settled them in the second tier.
His contract runs out this summer and it seems likely the former Celtic boss will be departing.
Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe however was very complimentary of the man in the away dugout for Monday night, explaining the 58-year-old actually gave him some advice right at the start of his managerial career.
He said: “Every derby means a lot. When you're playing your rivals it's about the bragging rights, some of our fans might be going to work with Blackburn fans on Tuesday morning and vice versa.
"I've been brought up in a city where the bragging rights are massively important in derbies. Hopefully we can give our fans the bragging rights.
"I've got full respect for Tony Mowbray, he's a fantastic bloke. I remember coming up against him when I was caretaker for Bury and they beat us and got promoted that year.
"He said to me, 'Look, son, I'm not telling you how to suck eggs but to get results just play a nice solid 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 and you'll get the lads working hard for you.’
"The next game I played a 4-2-3-1, which was a 4-5-1 and we beat top of the league Shrewsbury Town. Thanks to Tony for that.
"I've got the utmost respect for him, what he's done and where he's been. He's done a fantastic job at Blackburn for the many years he's been there, up and down.
"They've been within touching distance of getting in the play-offs or promotion – people were talking about them getting automatic promotion.
"I'm sure Tony will be trying to get points on the board to get back into those play-off positions to take the club forward.
"I have massive respect for him, the club and the players because they have some fantastic players there.”
Blackburn have been buoyed by the return of their international superstar Ben Brereton Diaz. The Chile international has featured four times since returning from injury, scoring once.
That takes his tally for the season to 23, and he is by far their main source of goals – fellow striker Sam Gallagher is next on eight.
Keeping him quiet could be the secret to success for PNE, as they learnt the hard way in the reverse fixture when Brereton Diaz netted the winner.