Paul Wheelock column: Drop the players who continue to make errors
ROVERS’ soft underbelly away from the home comforts of Ewood Park was horribly exposed on Tuesday night – and you could only feel sorry for the 302 hardy supporters who made the long trip to Ipswich.
They deserved so much better.
Unfortunately what they witnessed at Portman Road will not have come as a surprise.
Rovers have been their own worst enemies on their travels all season and, really, enough is enough.
That was the impression Gary Bowyer certainly gave in his post-match press conference.
It was clear from the first question put to him that the Rovers boss was seething.
Understandably, too, as it now seems after every away game he is having to address the individual mistakes that are costing his side so dear.
What makes it all the more frustrating, perplexing and downright annoying is that in front of their own fans, Rovers are rock solid.
The principles of defending as a team are generally the same at home as they are away.
But judging from what we have seen so far this season, Rovers are simply unable to apply them on the road.
It was illuminating that when Bowyer was asked, after the desperately disappointing defeat to Mick McCarthy’s men, why this was the case he offered the explanation that perhaps his players were lacking in mental toughness.
Well if that is the case repeat offenders need to toughen up fast or be dropped – because there is too much riding on it.
Yes there is still a hell of a long way to go and maybe it will only be after this month that we will have a clearer picture of who holds genuine aspirations of pushing for a play-off place.
But Tuesday’s wholly avoidable loss – and don’t forget Rovers were in control of the game at half-time – represented a massive missed opportunity.
Victory would have hauled Bowyer’s boys within two points of the top six going into this Saturday’s daunting trip to joint leaders QPR.
Even before the defeat to Ipswich it was going to be a tall order for wildly inconsistent Rovers to take anything from their London clash seeing as Harry Redknapp’s side have won eight and drawn one of their nine league matches at home, scoring 14 goals and conceding just two along the way.
But the very least the travelling supporters should expect at Loftus Road on Saturday – and make no mistake they will be there in their hundreds – is a display free of the type of disastrous errors away from home that have characterised and which are undermining their team’s season.
But if Rovers truly want to pay back the 302 fans who endured such a miserable evening in East Anglia on Tuesday evening, only a win will do.
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