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Tony Mowbray praises 'heroic' Blackburn side after draw with West Brom

By Matt Wilson | West Bromwich Albion | Published:

Tony Mowbray has praised his 'heroic' Blackburn side for grinding out a draw at The Hawthorns with no defenders on the pitch and an outfield player in goal.

Tony Mowbray returned to The Hawthorns. (AMA)

The former Baggies boss was without centre-back Darragh Linehan and then lost both Charlie Mulgrew and Jack Rodwell – his defensive pairing – to injury during the game.

To compound matters, goalkeeper David Raya was forced off with a nasty nose injury with 10 minutes to go after Mowbray had made all three substitutes, forcing midfielder Richard Smallwood to don the gloves.

"Lenihan failed a fitness test yesterday," explained Mowbray. "Lenihan and Mulgrew have been the bedrock of our defence.

"Then Mulgrew came off, then Rodwell came off, then the goalkeeper came off. There's no defenders on the pitch.

"We've got young (Lewis) Travis who's a midfielder at centre-half, a left-back playing centre-half.

"I thought it was heroic really from our team with no defenders on the pitch and to finish with no goalkeeper on the pitch.

"When I see the quality of Brunt and Morrison, Premier League footballers, my team deserves a lot of credit when they play in such adversity.

"If we had lost by a couple of goals I'd still be saying it was heroic. I'm delighted with the spirit of the team, it's 20 months since we lost back to back games.

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"We work really hard, at half-time they all talked about a stonewall penalty that wasn't given, the handball.

"(Joe) Rothwell went through one-on-one and I can't remember many saves from Raya.

"We created our biggest problems, (Derrick) Williams lost the ball to (Jay) Rodriguez and he should have scored really, but he put it over the bar."

Mowbray confirmed Raya had been taken to hospital with a suspected broken nose after being caught by Rodriguez in the second half.

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"The players were feeling sick with what they saw," revealed the Rovers boss. "It's a really bad injury, he'll be in hospital overnight. The nose is hanging off really.

"The players couldn't look at it it was that bad. Smallwood went in, and the lads are all calling him 'The Cat' at the minute."

It was Mowbray's first return to The Hawthorns as a manager since he left for Celtic nine years ago, and he was delighted to see some familiar faces.

"It's really good to see all the people that still work here," he said. "It's a proper club I think, good club, good people, hardworking people behind the scenes.

"I like good human beings, people with good morals, good standards, and there's lots of people like that here."

Matt Wilson

By Matt Wilson
Football MMPJ - @mattwilson_star

Sports reporter at the Express & Star, who primarily covers West Bromwich Albion.

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