Gary Bowyer is only too aware of the magnitude of the task that faces his Blackpool side when they travel to top-of-the-table Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.
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Tony Mowbray’s side have recovered from a slow start, losing three of their opening four games, to lead Shrewsbury Town by five points at the League One summit.
Bowyer, whose 13 years at Ewood Park included three years as manager, watched his former club draw 2-2 with Wigan Athletic on Sunday.
While he was impressed with what he saw, the Blackpool boss insists his side will go into the game full of confidence, having gone five games unbeaten.
Bowyer told The Gazette: “I saw the Blackburn v Wigan game, which I thought was a great advert for League One.
“Technically, both squads are near enough Championship level and they produced a fabulous game of football, with a lot of talent on show.
“I’m not at all surprised they’ve managed to turn it around. You look at the job Tony has done – he’s done brilliantly.
“They narrowly lost out on goal difference last season, when they were relegated.
“Then, for the first time in a long time, they invested heavily and spent over £1m on Bradley Dack and Dominic Samuel.
“That’s a big investment for this league. They already had the nucleus of a very good squad there and he picked the right players to add to it.
“But Tony will know if they continue this run and get promoted, another big investment will be needed in the Championship.
“There’s only a few left who were there when I was in charge.
“It was interesting watching their game and seeing David Raya, Ryan Nyambe and Darragh Lenihan, who I gave debuts to while I was there.
“It’s great to see them as established players who are doing well.
“It just shows you the strength in depth they’ve got when a player of Craig Conway’s calibre can’t get onto the pitch.
“That just shows you the size of the task ahead of us on Saturday, but we go into it with a hell of a lot of confidence because of our back-to-back away wins.
“The spirit and character is there among the group, so we’re looking forward to it.
“Football is a funny game and we go there unbeaten in February, with back-to-back away wins under our belt and with confidence high.
“We’re going to have a good go; it’s as simple as that.”ss