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Robust Richie has shown great discipline

Boss looking forward to seeing the best of Smallwood between now and the end of the campaign

26 March 2018

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Tony Mowbray is looking forward to seeing midfielder Richie Smallwood back to his old self, starting on Thursday when Bradford City visit Ewood Park.

The Rovers no.6 admitted in a recent interview that he's had to be cautious at times across the last 13 games, where one booking would have resulted in a two-game ban.
But the 27-year-old has overcome that and can now look forward to the rest of the campaign - something which his boss his thrilled about.
“The rate the bookings were coming at the start of the season, stamping his mark on the club and the team, and coming through a difficult start to the season, the intensity Richie plays with was always going to result in cards," Mowbray confessed.
“But he’s shown great discipline in those 13 games. I don’t think his performance levels have come down. Those little details of going straight through a challenge or knowing when or when not to go in to nick the ball have been the difference I think.
“I’d hope it would be an education for Richie that he can play his robust style and can still be effective without picking up those little bookings."
After a few midfielder's departed Rovers last summer, Tony believes he has a couple of players rolled into one after the signing of Smallwood.
And he's been delighted with what he's seen since reuniting with the combative midfielder, with the pair having worked together at Middlesbrough.
“He was brought in to do a specific job. We lost Jason Lowe, who was a type of footballer to win the ball back for us," he added. "We lost [Danny] Guthrie as well, who moved the ball around the pitch for us.
“Richie can do a bit of both and he can still develop. It’s Richie Smallwood in League One for Blackburn Rovers, not Richie Smallwood earning £100,000-a-week in the Premier League."
Rovers are next in action on Thursday 29th March against Bradford City. Kick-off against the Bantams is at 7.45pm, and tickets can be purchased by clicking here

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