Paul Wheelock column: Gary Bowyer right to stick Tom Cairney out wide

Corry Evans

Corry Evans

First published in Sport
Last updated
This Is Lancashire: Photograph of the Author by , Blackburn Rovers reporter

GOOD news Rovers fans – Corry Evans should be back in full training by the end of the week. Bad news for some of you – that could mean Tom Cairney starting more matches on the right-side of midfield. 

A number of Rovers supporters have let it be known on Twitter timelines, Facebook pages and messageboards that they would like to see Cairney operate more from his natural position in the centre of the park.

But let me state my case – I like him playing out wide.

Just because he starts on the right does not stop him from cutting inside and taking a game by the scruff of its neck as he proved so magnificently in the 1-1 FA Cup draw with Manchester City at Ewood.

Nor does it prevent him from popping up in and around the box to get on the end of chances.

That was evident in the first half against Doncaster on Saturday when Cairney wasted two – one in particular – golden opportunities to score his first goal since August.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a strong case for the talented 22-year-old to be moved into middle permanently.

Anyone who had the pleasure of watching his outstanding performance in the New Year’s Day win at Leeds would testify to that.

But the imminent return of Evans – another bargain buy from Hull City – complicates matters.

If the Northern Ireland international resumes the form he was in prior to the untimely injury he sustained while playing for his country, then he has to be one of the first names on Gary Bowyer’s team-sheet.

A real tempo setter, before his two-month lay-off Evans was starting to show that he can have a huge influence on matches at both ends of the field.

Given his ability to get ahead of the forwards – think his run from deep and unselfish pass to set up Leon Best’s goal at Bournemouth – Bowyer may be tempted to partner Evans, when he is back fully fit, with a more defensive-minded midfielder like Jason Lowe or Lee Williamson.

That would mean Cairney remaining on the right if Bowyer chooses to play a 4-4-2 formation – and, given the impact Rudy Gestede is beginning to make, that has to be a big possibility.

And who to play on the left? At this moment in time it has to be Ben Marshall who, after a slow start to his Rovers career, is now looking like the real deal.

But where do David Dunn, Chris Taylor and Josh King fit into that team?

Dunn, when available, remains a talisman, the industrious and versatile Taylor could play anywhere across the midfield and do a job, while King’s explosive pace down the flanks is a key attribute Rovers do not otherwise possess.

They are nice selection headaches for Bowyer to have – and for the rest of us to debate.

Comments (20)

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2:09pm Thu 16 Jan 14

You're not mugging me off that easily says...

And now West Brom have joined the hunt for Jordan Rhodes, sky bet 3/1.

This one could well have some credibility attached to it given that Shane Long has just been sold to Hull for 7 million. They have a hole to fill and the money to fill it.

Rhodes to be a Baggie By 1st of Feb.

Boing Boing Boing Boing!!!!!
And now West Brom have joined the hunt for Jordan Rhodes, sky bet 3/1. This one could well have some credibility attached to it given that Shane Long has just been sold to Hull for 7 million. They have a hole to fill and the money to fill it. Rhodes to be a Baggie By 1st of Feb. Boing Boing Boing Boing!!!!! You're not mugging me off that easily
  • Score: -9

2:15pm Thu 16 Jan 14

Lancs - pensioner says...

You're not mugging me off that easily wrote:
And now West Brom have joined the hunt for Jordan Rhodes, sky bet 3/1.

This one could well have some credibility attached to it given that Shane Long has just been sold to Hull for 7 million. They have a hole to fill and the money to fill it.

Rhodes to be a Baggie By 1st of Feb.

Boing Boing Boing Boing!!!!!
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
[quote][p][bold]You're not mugging me off that easily[/bold] wrote: And now West Brom have joined the hunt for Jordan Rhodes, sky bet 3/1. This one could well have some credibility attached to it given that Shane Long has just been sold to Hull for 7 million. They have a hole to fill and the money to fill it. Rhodes to be a Baggie By 1st of Feb. Boing Boing Boing Boing!!!!![/p][/quote]Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Lancs - pensioner
  • Score: 8

2:18pm Thu 16 Jan 14

You're not mugging me off that easily says...

Lancs - pensioner wrote:
You're not mugging me off that easily wrote:
And now West Brom have joined the hunt for Jordan Rhodes, sky bet 3/1.

This one could well have some credibility attached to it given that Shane Long has just been sold to Hull for 7 million. They have a hole to fill and the money to fill it.

Rhodes to be a Baggie By 1st of Feb.

Boing Boing Boing Boing!!!!!
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Having an afternoon nap before bingo are we gramps?
[quote][p][bold]Lancs - pensioner[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]You're not mugging me off that easily[/bold] wrote: And now West Brom have joined the hunt for Jordan Rhodes, sky bet 3/1. This one could well have some credibility attached to it given that Shane Long has just been sold to Hull for 7 million. They have a hole to fill and the money to fill it. Rhodes to be a Baggie By 1st of Feb. Boing Boing Boing Boing!!!!![/p][/quote]Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz[/p][/quote]Having an afternoon nap before bingo are we gramps? You're not mugging me off that easily
  • Score: -8

2:20pm Thu 16 Jan 14

john byrom says...

You're not mugging me off that easily wrote:
And now West Brom have joined the hunt for Jordan Rhodes, sky bet 3/1.

This one could well have some credibility attached to it given that Shane Long has just been sold to Hull for 7 million. They have a hole to fill and the money to fill it.

Rhodes to be a Baggie By 1st of Feb.

Boing Boing Boing Boing!!!!!
More Idiot Dingles on our pages again.
[quote][p][bold]You're not mugging me off that easily[/bold] wrote: And now West Brom have joined the hunt for Jordan Rhodes, sky bet 3/1. This one could well have some credibility attached to it given that Shane Long has just been sold to Hull for 7 million. They have a hole to fill and the money to fill it. Rhodes to be a Baggie By 1st of Feb. Boing Boing Boing Boing!!!!![/p][/quote]More Idiot Dingles on our pages again. john byrom
  • Score: 14

2:22pm Thu 16 Jan 14

Mooksters says...

I think Cairney is best in centre midfield rather than out wide so this does pose a rather positive conundrum for Bowyer. Although a lot of posters on here aren’t keen on Lowe he would be my holding midfielder of choice, and if Evans is fit you have to play Cairney on the right with the left down to Marshall or King as the article says – great problem to have though just hope Evans is as good as he was before he got injured.

On another note - went to the game last night and the fans were magnificent for Rovers. And here is the change – under the previous regime (Kean) I have no doubt that the fans would have been on the players/managers back for a score line like this all be it against probably one of the best teams in Europe at the moment. But this shows how far Gary Bowyer has brought the team no fans left at the end and everyone stayed and applauded the players who continued to pass the ball and not just hoof it. Tom Cairney was brilliant last night stand out player for me. Score line doesn’t reflect the work ethic of this team.
I think Cairney is best in centre midfield rather than out wide so this does pose a rather positive conundrum for Bowyer. Although a lot of posters on here aren’t keen on Lowe he would be my holding midfielder of choice, and if Evans is fit you have to play Cairney on the right with the left down to Marshall or King as the article says – great problem to have though just hope Evans is as good as he was before he got injured. On another note - went to the game last night and the fans were magnificent for Rovers. And here is the change – under the previous regime (Kean) I have no doubt that the fans would have been on the players/managers back for a score line like this all be it against probably one of the best teams in Europe at the moment. But this shows how far Gary Bowyer has brought the team no fans left at the end and everyone stayed and applauded the players who continued to pass the ball and not just hoof it. Tom Cairney was brilliant last night stand out player for me. Score line doesn’t reflect the work ethic of this team. Mooksters
  • Score: 15

2:23pm Thu 16 Jan 14

john byrom says...

Lancs - pensioner wrote:
You're not mugging me off that easily wrote:
And now West Brom have joined the hunt for Jordan Rhodes, sky bet 3/1.

This one could well have some credibility attached to it given that Shane Long has just been sold to Hull for 7 million. They have a hole to fill and the money to fill it.

Rhodes to be a Baggie By 1st of Feb.

Boing Boing Boing Boing!!!!!
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
Get back on your own LITTLE teams page idiot .If you believe anything to do with Sky well just proves how thick Dingles are.
[quote][p][bold]Lancs - pensioner[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]You're not mugging me off that easily[/bold] wrote: And now West Brom have joined the hunt for Jordan Rhodes, sky bet 3/1. This one could well have some credibility attached to it given that Shane Long has just been sold to Hull for 7 million. They have a hole to fill and the money to fill it. Rhodes to be a Baggie By 1st of Feb. Boing Boing Boing Boing!!!!![/p][/quote]Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz[/p][/quote]ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ Get back on your own LITTLE teams page idiot .If you believe anything to do with Sky well just proves how thick Dingles are. john byrom
  • Score: 8

2:48pm Thu 16 Jan 14

LittleRonnieHildersley says...

I prefer Cairney in the middle but such is the squad that with Evans coming back we have a lot of flexibility and a lot of talent in there. Hopefully Evans will bring that extra bit of tempo...interesting to see where Williamson and Lowe will fit in!
I prefer Cairney in the middle but such is the squad that with Evans coming back we have a lot of flexibility and a lot of talent in there. Hopefully Evans will bring that extra bit of tempo...interesting to see where Williamson and Lowe will fit in! LittleRonnieHildersley
  • Score: 6

2:51pm Thu 16 Jan 14

bburnrover says...

If West Brom are looking at rhodes i bet they are also looking at ings who is a much cheaper option as rhodes is earning premiership wages.
If West Brom are looking at rhodes i bet they are also looking at ings who is a much cheaper option as rhodes is earning premiership wages. bburnrover
  • Score: 6

3:00pm Thu 16 Jan 14

we.love.u.venkys. says...

Has Rhodes gone yet?
Has Rhodes gone yet? we.love.u.venkys.
  • Score: -3

3:09pm Thu 16 Jan 14

wolsty says...

we.love.u.venkys. wrote:
Has Rhodes gone yet?
Don't know???? but you should know?? you know everything about this club check it out and then come back and tell the TRUTH easy
[quote][p][bold]we.love.u.venkys.[/bold] wrote: Has Rhodes gone yet?[/p][/quote]Don't know???? but you should know?? you know everything about this club check it out and then come back and tell the TRUTH easy wolsty
  • Score: 3

3:30pm Thu 16 Jan 14

MxMave says...

The main issue is that we cant play Lowe & Williamson together. Both good players but 2 holding mids has been our problem (especially at home). The game Lowe was injured we played well and took the game to Leeds. I thought Bowyer would have learnt from this by now.
For me I'd keep Lowe and drop Williamson for Evans when the time comes.
The main issue is that we cant play Lowe & Williamson together. Both good players but 2 holding mids has been our problem (especially at home). The game Lowe was injured we played well and took the game to Leeds. I thought Bowyer would have learnt from this by now. For me I'd keep Lowe and drop Williamson for Evans when the time comes. MxMave
  • Score: 6

3:54pm Thu 16 Jan 14

McClaret says...

Mentioning williamson - did you see how disrespectful Dzeko was to him at the end of last nights match. He gave him his shirt and basically said he didn't want his in return.
Watched most of the match and in fairness thought Cairney had a good game for you.
Favourite moment had to be when the city fans started singing - We'll never play you again' which I thought is really harsh given that Blackburn are a massive club with huge support and the best stadium in Britain.
Mentioning williamson - did you see how disrespectful Dzeko was to him at the end of last nights match. He gave him his shirt and basically said he didn't want his in return. Watched most of the match and in fairness thought Cairney had a good game for you. Favourite moment had to be when the city fans started singing - We'll never play you again' which I thought is really harsh given that Blackburn are a massive club with huge support and the best stadium in Britain. McClaret
  • Score: -4

4:41pm Thu 16 Jan 14

RoverTheHill says...

McClaret wrote:
Mentioning williamson - did you see how disrespectful Dzeko was to him at the end of last nights match. He gave him his shirt and basically said he didn't want his in return.
Watched most of the match and in fairness thought Cairney had a good game for you.
Favourite moment had to be when the city fans started singing - We'll never play you again' which I thought is really harsh given that Blackburn are a massive club with huge support and the best stadium in Britain.
I know! It's quite an achievement for all of Lancashire to have such a progressive club they've had proper seating for many decades now.

We should all be grateful too that at least one club in Lancashire is good enough to earn a replay against arguably the best team in the UK and possibly Europe and that unlike their crusty 6 fingered neighbours they don't continue to have rotted wooden seats and rooms with holes in the floor labeled as both "Toilet" and "Burnley Team Changing Rooms"!
[quote][p][bold]McClaret[/bold] wrote: Mentioning williamson - did you see how disrespectful Dzeko was to him at the end of last nights match. He gave him his shirt and basically said he didn't want his in return. Watched most of the match and in fairness thought Cairney had a good game for you. Favourite moment had to be when the city fans started singing - We'll never play you again' which I thought is really harsh given that Blackburn are a massive club with huge support and the best stadium in Britain.[/p][/quote]I know! It's quite an achievement for all of Lancashire to have such a progressive club they've had proper seating for many decades now. We should all be grateful too that at least one club in Lancashire is good enough to earn a replay against arguably the best team in the UK and possibly Europe and that unlike their crusty 6 fingered neighbours they don't continue to have rotted wooden seats and rooms with holes in the floor labeled as both "Toilet" and "Burnley Team Changing Rooms"! RoverTheHill
  • Score: 5

6:09pm Thu 16 Jan 14

McClaret says...

Massive
Massive McClaret
  • Score: 0

6:13pm Thu 16 Jan 14

You're not mugging me off that easily says...

bburnrover wrote:
If West Brom are looking at rhodes i bet they are also looking at ings who is a much cheaper option as rhodes is earning premiership wages.
And you think Ings would be happy going to a Premiership club whilst still being paid championship wages?

And if Ings is younger quicker and on current form more prolific why would he be cheaper?
[quote][p][bold]bburnrover[/bold] wrote: If West Brom are looking at rhodes i bet they are also looking at ings who is a much cheaper option as rhodes is earning premiership wages.[/p][/quote]And you think Ings would be happy going to a Premiership club whilst still being paid championship wages? And if Ings is younger quicker and on current form more prolific why would he be cheaper? You're not mugging me off that easily
  • Score: 0

6:35pm Thu 16 Jan 14

baldie says...

You're not mugging me off that easily wrote:
bburnrover wrote:
If West Brom are looking at rhodes i bet they are also looking at ings who is a much cheaper option as rhodes is earning premiership wages.
And you think Ings would be happy going to a Premiership club whilst still being paid championship wages?

And if Ings is younger quicker and on current form more prolific why would he be cheaper?
Because he's out of contract 2 years earlier than Rhodes and Burnley face losing him for nothing next season.
.Also,Burnley didn't pay anywhere near as much,thus they would,realistically, be prepared to take significantly less for him.
Talent wise,different players but nothing in it.But in the real world,the agents will have the last say and the length of contract must have a big influence on any decision.
Not saying which player will go or which will stay,but in response to your question,these are my reasons for Ings being the cheaper option.
[quote][p][bold]You're not mugging me off that easily[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]bburnrover[/bold] wrote: If West Brom are looking at rhodes i bet they are also looking at ings who is a much cheaper option as rhodes is earning premiership wages.[/p][/quote]And you think Ings would be happy going to a Premiership club whilst still being paid championship wages? And if Ings is younger quicker and on current form more prolific why would he be cheaper?[/p][/quote]Because he's out of contract 2 years earlier than Rhodes and Burnley face losing him for nothing next season. .Also,Burnley didn't pay anywhere near as much,thus they would,realistically, be prepared to take significantly less for him. Talent wise,different players but nothing in it.But in the real world,the agents will have the last say and the length of contract must have a big influence on any decision. Not saying which player will go or which will stay,but in response to your question,these are my reasons for Ings being the cheaper option. baldie
  • Score: 3

6:37pm Thu 16 Jan 14

baldie says...

By the way,great news about Evans.
By the way,great news about Evans. baldie
  • Score: 1

8:56pm Thu 16 Jan 14

flowersorseaman? says...

Why with 'he scores with his head' Gestede giving us an aerial threat would we continue to play Cairney on the right? If GBhe wants to accommodate two more defensive centre mids he should play Cairney on the left. Surely he's in a better position to supply crosses for our fairly decent strike force. I'm sick of watching him down the right slowing up every break we have as he turns the ball back to his left side before he heads toward the middle of the pitch. Don't get me wrong that's no slight on TC he's a top player, doesn't grumble, gets on with it and puts in a shift but he's a totally one (left) footed centre mid, not blessed with blistering pace or a deadly finisher, possibly the last candidate for a right winger. I see the manager's idea of playing wrong footed wingers, to cut inside and have a pop at goal. But how many goals have the wrong footed wingers contributed this season from open play, (this includes King playing down the left) it's one, a tap in against 10 man Barnsley. So it's not working. Need to start playing to our strengths and that's getting the ball in the box for JR or Gestede. Marshall can play down the right just as effectively if not more so than down the left, so it's problem solved. That said, it's King on the right and TC through the middle for me with Evans plus a #10 to link up with JR. At 442 it's Cairney left all day long knocking it on to Gestede's heed!
Why with 'he scores with his head' Gestede giving us an aerial threat would we continue to play Cairney on the right? If GBhe wants to accommodate two more defensive centre mids he should play Cairney on the left. Surely he's in a better position to supply crosses for our fairly decent strike force. I'm sick of watching him down the right slowing up every break we have as he turns the ball back to his left side before he heads toward the middle of the pitch. Don't get me wrong that's no slight on TC he's a top player, doesn't grumble, gets on with it and puts in a shift but he's a totally one (left) footed centre mid, not blessed with blistering pace or a deadly finisher, possibly the last candidate for a right winger. I see the manager's idea of playing wrong footed wingers, to cut inside and have a pop at goal. But how many goals have the wrong footed wingers contributed this season from open play, (this includes King playing down the left) it's one, a tap in against 10 man Barnsley. So it's not working. Need to start playing to our strengths and that's getting the ball in the box for JR or Gestede. Marshall can play down the right just as effectively if not more so than down the left, so it's problem solved. That said, it's King on the right and TC through the middle for me with Evans plus a #10 to link up with JR. At 442 it's Cairney left all day long knocking it on to Gestede's heed! flowersorseaman?
  • Score: 0

8:34am Fri 17 Jan 14

fitz808 says...

great news with evans coming back, and a decent selection poser to have.
for my money, i can see the point of keeping a defensive-minded player (lowe or williamson) in the middle, and therefor pushing cairney out to the right.
assuming evans can replicate his form before injury, and i suspect he will because (again) bowyer has bought someone with the right talent and attitude, he should take one of the central places.
the rest is down to formation. if we're away from home against a top team, then evans and williamson to play deep with cairney as one of the three supporting rhodes, i reckon. however. if you're really going for a win at home, then i can see a good argument for evans and cairney in the middle. we would concede chances though, so it would be a case of looking to outscore the opposition. and i think with those two you would need someone like taylor on one of the flanks because of his workrate.
certainly a complex problem, but it's great to think that we now have a really sturdy subs bench with players like williamson, lowe, taylor, king, dunn, eastwood and gestede potentially sat on it at any given time. that's starting to look like a promotion-chasing side
great news with evans coming back, and a decent selection poser to have. for my money, i can see the point of keeping a defensive-minded player (lowe or williamson) in the middle, and therefor pushing cairney out to the right. assuming evans can replicate his form before injury, and i suspect he will because (again) bowyer has bought someone with the right talent and attitude, he should take one of the central places. the rest is down to formation. if we're away from home against a top team, then evans and williamson to play deep with cairney as one of the three supporting rhodes, i reckon. however. if you're really going for a win at home, then i can see a good argument for evans and cairney in the middle. we would concede chances though, so it would be a case of looking to outscore the opposition. and i think with those two you would need someone like taylor on one of the flanks because of his workrate. certainly a complex problem, but it's great to think that we now have a really sturdy subs bench with players like williamson, lowe, taylor, king, dunn, eastwood and gestede potentially sat on it at any given time. that's starting to look like a promotion-chasing side fitz808
  • Score: 1

1:05pm Fri 17 Jan 14

MattNewcastle says...

Cairney is to talented to be out wide drifting in and out of games and when he does naturally come in field to play a role in central midfield we instantly lose our width on the right and become to predictable attacking down our left.

If GB insists on selecting either Marshall / King to play on the left we need to find a natural wide Right player which is why I thought we bought Marshall in the first place

Williamson and Lowe potentially on Evans return would struggle to get a game however I would still play Lowe at Right Back
Cairney is to talented to be out wide drifting in and out of games and when he does naturally come in field to play a role in central midfield we instantly lose our width on the right and become to predictable attacking down our left. If GB insists on selecting either Marshall / King to play on the left we need to find a natural wide Right player which is why I thought we bought Marshall in the first place Williamson and Lowe potentially on Evans return would struggle to get a game however I would still play Lowe at Right Back MattNewcastle
  • Score: -1

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