Date: 12th April 2017 at 10:11am
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Why isn’t Anthony Stokes in the Blackburn first team squad at the moment? Tony Mowbray has insisted this certainly isn’t down to any ‘fall-out’ with him.

Stokes bagged three goals in his opening two games for Blackburn but he’s struggled for involvement, let alone goals since. In fact he hasn’t been in the first team at all since a late appearance from the bench, all three minutes of it back in December – obviously not at all under Mowbray.

However, there’s no problem between Mowbray and Stokes with the Rovers boss saying the former Celtic and Hibernian striker is suffering with ‘personal issues’ but wouldn’t go into details.

Mowbray was quoted by the Daily Record.

‘We have had a few personal issues with Anthony from the day that I walked in really. I don`t think it`s a place for me to discuss his personal situation, but what has probably kept him out of the picture is stuff that has been going on off the pitch rather than on the pitch.’

When Stokes, 28, is ready to come back into the picture he will.

‘I`m trying to manage that situation the best I can and the supporters should know that there`s no fall-out between me and Stokesy, everything is fine, he`s just looking after certain aspects of his life at the moment and if and when he`s ready to come in and impact on the team we`ll get him ready.’

Mowbray went on to say the (former?) Republic of Ireland international isn’t ‘far away’ from that involvement.

‘He`s not far away from impacting again, but we talk quite a lot me and Stokesy on how he is feeling and what`s going on.’

Stokes, signed on a three year deal by former boss Owen Coyle last summer, did bag a brace for Blackburn in a win over West Brom for the U23 side in Premier League 2 this week – showing what he’s capable of.

The Blackburn boss finished by saying he’s been impressed with what he’s seen from Stokes in training, he ‘knows where the back of the net is’ with Rovers in desperate need of this in the coming weeks.

‘What I would say is that he has worked extremely hard in the last three weeks, he`s done a lot of training on his own with the sports science department and a lot work in isolation which is always difficult to do, but he has trained the last week or so and I would have to say that he looks a finisher. He looks as if he`s direct and fast with the ball cutting in off the left side and he knows where the back of the net is.’

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