GARY Bowyer has implored English football to be ‘careful’ with how it treats its homegrown coaches after Chris Powell’s sacking from Charlton Athletic left the rookie Blackburn Rovers boss as the 14th-longest serving manager in the Championship.
That is despite Bowyer, who takes charge of Rovers for the 50th time tonight when they welcome Bournemouth to Ewood Park, being in his first full season as a senior boss.
The 42-year-old was disappointed to discover that Powell, 44, had been given the bullet by relegation-threatened Charlton yesterday and replaced by Belgian Jose Riga.
And Bowyer was taken aback when he was told that there are now just 13 Championship bosses who have spent more time in their posts than him.
“Wow – that is some statistic,” said Bowyer, who was handed the Rovers job on a permanent basis in May after two separate spells as the club’s caretaker manager last season.
“And it’s a crazy one seeing how long I’ve been at it – I’ve not even done a year yet.
“It was disappointing to hear about Chris as he’s a great guy.
“We’ve got to be careful in this country, really careful, as there are a lot of good British managers out of work.”
Bowyer believes it is not a coincidence that Championship bosses who have been given time to build their teams, like Leicester’s Pearson and Burnley’s Dyche, are enjoying success.
“Stability is the key for any successful business – and football is a business,” said Bowyer, who was previously Rovers’ reserve and academy manager.
“Look at how long they’ve (Pearson, Dyche) been in the jobs they are in and sometimes owners have got to see that.”
Bowyer has won 18, drawn 16 and lost 15 of the 49 competitive matches he has presided over as Rovers’ caretaker and permanent boss – a win percentage of 36.73 per cent that is better than Steve Kean’s first 49 games in charge (24.48 per cent) and Sam Allardyce’s first 49 games in charge (32.65 per cent).
With Financial Fair Play looming large Bowyer has been tasked with the responsibility of cutting down the club’s wage bill while building a new squad that is capable of challenging for promotion.
The former Nottingham Forest defender has brought in 19 players – his latest arrival being winger Liam Feeney on loan from Millwall – and let more than double that amount leave either permanently or temporarily.
When asked if there has been too big a turnover Bowyer said: “I think it shows the level of the job that’s needed to be done here.
“It’s about balancing the books but also about putting a team out there that is competitive – and we’ve got a few more windows to go in my opinion before we are somewhere close to getting level again.”
Bowyer refused to be drawn on whether there will be more big changes in the summer, instead pointing out that he is not looking beyond this season as he still believes his inconsistent side have a chance of making the play-offs.
“One or two people may have written us off but that’s a dangerous thing to do with this group as they’ve proved throughout this season that whenever a challenge has been put to them they have bounced back and got on with it,” said Bowyer, who admitted he was still ‘hurting’ from Sunday’s East Lancashire derby defeat to second-placed Burnley.
“That is the response we’re expecting now.”
After their three previous home losses this season – to Nottingham Forest, Charlton and Birmingham City – Rovers have responded with a victory in their next match in front of their supporters.
Bowyer hopes to have David Dunn available for selection tonight after the talismanic midfielder suffered cramp against the Clarets.
Captain Grant Hanley made his return from a calf strain in Rovers’ first loss to Burnley in 35 years and, like Dunn, Bowyer says he has to be ‘careful’ with the centre-back.
Tom Cairney remains sidelined, along with fellow midfielder Ben Marshall, but centre-back Matt Kilgallon and winger Josh King could return.