Striking first is target for Blackburn Rovers boss
BLACKBURN Rovers boss Gary Bowyer believes his side need to start scoring first in matches if they are to find the consistency they are striving for.
Rovers have fallen behind in six of the eight Championship games they have played so far this season.
It says something for their resilient spirit that they battled back to draw at Derby and Burnley, thrash Barnsley and go close to snatching a share of the spoils at Leicester.
But, ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Bournemouth (3pm), Bowyer has made it clear that getting the first goal is crucial to their progression.
He said: “We’ve been striving this week to drum into the players the importance of scoring that first goal.
“It would be massive for everybody.”
As well as breaking the deadlock, Bowyer knows Rovers need to mirror the form they have shown at Ewood Park when on their travels.
They have taken just two points on the road this season and their last away win was in April at Millwall.
Bowyer said: “It’s a rebuilding process and it’s going to take time but from our point of view and from the supporters’ point of the view there are positive signs.
“It’s about consistency and showing the form we have shown at home and the goals we have scored at home and transferring them on to the road.
“If we do that we will start picking up points.
“You look at the performances we’ve had away from home and we’ve been disappointed not to pick up our first win.
“That’s what we’ve been striving for in training this week. Last week we were striving for our first clean sheet and we got it.
“Sooner or later we’re going to put everything together away from home and we’ll pick up that first win – and there’ll be no better time than Saturday.”
Rovers’ search for that elusive away win takes them to the Goldsands Stadium tomorrow.
And Bowyer is under no illusion of how tough a task that will be against a Bournemouth side, under former Burnley boss Eddie Howe, who have made a promising start to the season after winning promotion from League One.
“We’ve studied them on videos and obviously we know Eddie Howe from his Burnley days and how his teams like to play,” said the Rovers chief.
“Eddie has got his philosophy and he sticks to it and it should be a good game of football between two good footballing teams.”
Rovers will train this morning before flying to Bournemouth later today.
Their matchday squad is unlikely to include David Dunn and DJ Campbell but the injured duo do have a chance of returning for Tuesday’s home clash with Watford.
When asked if he was tempted to start with a two-man attack of Jordan Rhodes and Leon Best in a bid to secure the three points, Bowyer said: “With Leon back it gives us the option.
“I think you saw the impact Besty had in the air after he came on against Huddersfield and the physical presence he presents. We’re delighted to have another option.”
Two other Rovers strikers have been among the goals – but away from Ewood Park.
David Goodwillie hit a hat-trick for Dundee United in their Scottish League Cup win over Partick Thistle on Wednesday while fellow forward Anton Forrester made it four goals in seven games for Bury on Saturday. Both players are out on loan from Rovers.
Bowyer said: “Young Anton has gone to Bury and we’re delighted with how he’s gone about it.
“He needed to mature and get used to playing men’s football. We’re thankful for Bury for looking after him properly.
“And we were delighted to see Goodie gets his hat-trick. It’ll be good for him scoring goals and hopefully it will kick-start him.”
Both Goodwillie and Forrester are due back at Rovers on January 1.
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