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Tony Mowbray heaps praise on Sam Gallagher after Blackburn beat Middlesbrough

Blackburn Rovers v Middlesbrough – Sky Bet Championship – Ewood Park
(Image credit: Mike Egerton)

Tony Mowbray hailed Sam Gallagher’s “rocket” of a right foot after his strike gave Championship promotion hopefuls Blackburn a crucial 1-0 win over Middlesbrough.

Rovers are without top scorer Ben Brereton Diaz for two games but Gallagher took responsibility in a tight game between two of the division’s form sides to rifle in a 76th-minute winner that ultimately proved the difference.

Gallagher’s sixth goal of the season could yet be a key one. They sit second, three points ahead of third place and put in a hugely impressive performance without the likes of Brereton Diaz and Joe Rothwell.

They have won 11 of their last 15 games and Mowbray was delighted for his matchwinner.

He said: “Scoring the goal was always going to be difficult for us tonight, without Brereton and Rothwell. I don’t know how many appearances he (Gallagher) has made but I think his goals per starts is pretty good.

“He’s missed a fair whack of the season. He scored tonight with his right foot. I’m always encouraging him to hit it because when you watch it in training it’s like a bazooka, his right foot. It’s a great strike.

“Gallagher is fast, strong, good in the air, rocket in his right foot. He has all the attributes to be a top player.

“His ambition has to be to get to the Premier League, hopefully with this club, but if not, the Premier League look at this monster of a boy who can run like the wind with a rocket in his boots, why can’t he play in the Premier League?

“Other than learning the game. He’s doing that, working really hard at it and I’m delighted he’s getting the rewards.”

Referee Darren England stopped the game for nine minutes in the second half because of a medical emergency in the Jack Walker Stand at Ewood Park.

Blackburn later confirmed a fan, who required urgent attention after being taken ill, was stable in hospital.

“Rovers wish to pay a special thanks to Middlesbrough’s medical department, who were first on the scene and who were able to restart the gentleman’s breathing, as well as Rovers’ medical staff and the crowd doctor and his team for their swift response,” read a club statement on rovers.co.uk.

“After regaining consciousness, the supporter was taken by ambulance to hospital, where he is alert and stable.

“Our thoughts remain with him and his family this evening, and we hope that he makes a full and speedy recovery.”

Rovers manager Mowbray added: “It was mentioned in the dressing room, the whole team were asking after him.”

Middlesbrough remain seventh after their seven-match unbeaten run was ended, and afterwards Chris Wilder demanded more from his team.

He said: “For me, they dominated the first half and from an attitude point of view more than anything. They set themselves up for a deserved win.

“We’ve had a couple of chances late on, a reaction at half-time. I’m not one for players needing a word or two. At Blackburn away when it’s third vs seventh and going into the second part of the season.

“There’s a saying, fire and ice mentality. Without the ball, fire and desire to get it back, and then the ice to calm yourself down and play your game. But the first has to be the fire and I thought Blackburn had it first half, and we were always chasing it.

“Second part of it, with the football, we weren’t very good as well. Thought we were better second half, created two fabulous chances, but I want more, expect more and demand more, especially from the off.”

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