Rovers eye play-off surge with double Rhodes boost
It says a lot about Blackburn’s recent troubles that their fans will be relatively satisfied with their current mid-table position in the league.
Lying in 13th place, closer to the play-offs (five points) than they are to the bottom three (eight points), Rovers fans will no doubt simply be relieved at the respite afforded by what seems like a period of rare stability under the ownership of the Venky’s.
Appointed as full time manager in May following two previous stints as caretaker boss, Gary Bowyer has already outlasted his two predecessors. Following Henning Berg’s 57 days in charge after Steve Kean’s dismissal, Michael Appleton managed only ten days more. Now coming up to six months in charge, Bowyer’s tenure appears comparatively lengthy.
Although nothing should be taken for granted under a regime that has gone through five managers in three years, it finally appears as though Blackburn are finally settled on the man to lead their push back to the Premier League.
There were further signs this week that the Venky’s were backing Bowyer, when they followed the alarming news of a reported annual loss of £36.5m with a firm reassurance that they will not be forced to flog their assets to plug the financial hole.
Of course the much-coveted man at the top of that list is Scotland striker Jordan Rhodes, who has followed a prolific season in a struggling side last term with ten goals already this season, joint second in the Championship goalscorers chart.
Upon news of the big losses, Bowyer sought assurances from the owners that Rhodes would not be sold, and much to his and the Blackburn fans’ relief, the answer was the one he was hoping for.
It was a much-needed boost in a recent time of struggle, with Rovers winning only one of their last five. The feel-good factor didn’t last long though, with Rhodes suffering a freak injury on international duty in midweek, with initial rumours emanating from the Scottish camp that he had sustained a leg fracture.
But a collective sigh of relief could be heard from Ewood Park when he returned for a full check up, however, and it was discovered to be only soft tissue damage.
Bowyer should now have the striker available for two big home games coming up against Reading and Leeds. Victories in both would send a clear signal of intent to the rest of the league and keep Blackburn in touch with the top six.
Should the Venky’s keep their promise in January and not sell their prolific frontman, Rovers, who are 12/1 to be promoted this year, should fancy their chances of claiming a play-off spot.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.