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Mowbray keeping feet on ground as Blackburn close in on play-off places

Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray played down suggestions his injury-hit side are now realistic promotion contenders after their clinical 2-0 victory over Charlton at The Valley.

Of the nine teams above Rovers before the weekend’s fixtures, only Leeds managed to win, meaning Rovers have moved to within three points of the Championship play-off positions.

Mowbray said: “We can’t get carried away. We are working really hard as a football club trying to win matches.

“There are some huge, gigantic teams above us in this league and we were in League One two seasons ago. We’re trying to constantly improve and see where that takes us.

“I was happy with the team today. It was a day for trying to manage a football match. A blustery day so we played two mobile strikers and tried to play in behind, play in their half as much as we could.

It was obviously a good day for us.

“We’ve been on a decent run of form and I couldn’t tell you how many injuries we’ve got to some pretty key players, Bradley Dack being the main one.

“A host of injuries, but the team have stepped up over the last few weeks and found a way to win games and a different way of winning them.

“We knew that we had to match Charlton physically and get ready for an intensity from them. We talked at half-time about not giving them any cheap goals because if they scored one, this crowd would ignite. We managed the second half and got the result we wanted.”

One of the players who impressed at The Valley was 20-year-old attacking midfielder John Buckley, who scored Blackburn’s first goal, with Tosin Adarabioyo adding the second before half-time.

Mowbray believes Buckley has a bright future, adding: “John is a boy really, but he’s a very talented boy. Physically he finds it difficult at times and, if he doesn’t have a great game, people are quick to jump on this small-framed boy who gets knocked about at times, but he will grow into his body one of these days, a year or two.

“His talent is unquestionable and he’s an exciting talent for the club. Because of the injuries, he’s got an opportunity. He grabbed it today.”

Charlton manager Lee Bowyer praised Mowbray’s team for adapting to the blustery condition better than his.

Bowyer said: “It was a disappointing day. Blackburn did a good professional performance, a job on us. We started well and were the better side for the first 10, 15 minutes, but then Blackburn got their first goal and after that they were the better side and deserved their three points.

“The Championship is relentless and everyone has to earn their three points. Did my players work hard? Of course they did.

“They gave everything physically and we improved in the second half, but we just huffed and puffed without any real quality.

“The second goal came from a free-kick that was never a foul and their keeper made some good saves, but that’s his job and if I’m looking at the big picture over the 90 minutes, Blackburn deserved the three points.

“There was nothing pretty about what Tony and his team did. They just kept turning us around. They played the conditions better than us.

“Did the wind change at half-time because it seemed like it was against us in the second half as well?”

Charlton face Luton at The Valley next week, a match that has taken on extra significance in the battle to avoid relegation with Luton’s victory at Middlesbrough, but Bowyer is adamant it will not be a season-defining match.

He added: “There will be important games after the Luton game so we can’t just focus on that one. We have to be realistic.

“It’s about getting points. Who would have thought that Barnsley would have won at Fulham? You would have put your house on Fulham winning that game and then you’d have been going home homeless.

“That’s the Championship, you just can’t predict so no matter what the result next week, it won’t mean that Luton will have gone down. The most important thing is that we turn up and that we’re ready.”