BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
FORMER Celtic and Hibs boss Tony Mowbray has vowed to be an “inspiration” to his players after returning to management with crisis club Blackburn.
The 53-year-old, who has been out of work since leaving Coventry City last September, has penned an 18-month deal with the Championship strugglers and replaces Scottish coach Owen Coyle at the helm.
Mowbray faces an onerous task to revitalise the Lancashire side, with three points separating them from safety. They have won just two league games in their last 13 outings, while supporters are railing against unpopular Indian owners, Venky’s Ltd.
However, Mowbray is approaching the challenge with positivity ahead of his first match in charge on Friday night – a crucial relegation battle against Burton Albion.
He said: “It is good to get my tracksuit back on and get back out there. I’m drenched in football, and here I am back working with players and talking with players. Trying to get across my passion and emotion for the game.
“I’ve talked to the group a lot and I hope they feel that emotion that I bring to football. I want them to be inspired, I want them to ask questions, I want them to love coming into training.
“I want them to feel that ‘wow, we are going to learn here and are going to be better players at the end of this experience.’
“I want to inspire young men to want to be better at football and obviously to help this football club win lots of games and start moving in the right direction again.”
Mowbray managed Hibs between 2004 and 2006, landing the Football Writers’ manager of the year in his first full season in charge and won widespread plaudits for his style of play, bringing the likes of Scott Brown, Kevin Thomson, Derek Riordan and Steven Fletcher to prominence.
That landed him a switch to West Brom, where he won the Championship title in 2007/08. However, the Baggies were relegated at the end of the following season – and Mowbray left for Celtic.
He lasted just nine months of an ill-fated stint at Parkhead, while spells at Middlesbrough and Coventry followed.
And Mowbray is keen to strike a balance between the attractive philosophy that made him a hit with the Hibees and the desperate need for wins.
Mowbray told Blackburn’s official website: “Ultimately we have to win. It is no good being the best team on a Saturday and losing 1-0 so we have to find the balance. But I want the supporters to come to Ewood Park and know that we are going to be good with the ball and create chances.”