Paul Wheelock column: Injury jinx hinders Rovers ambitions

Rudy Gestede was injured at Huddersfield Town

Rudy Gestede was injured at Huddersfield Town

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

IF Rovers have been one thing this season it is consistently inconsistent.

Has it been frustrating? Certainly. But has it been surprising? Certainly not.

How could it be when Rovers are essentially a brand new team put together by a manager who is still cutting his teeth at Championship level?

There were always going to be bumps in the road.

But what hasn’t helped is the sheer amount of injuries Rovers have suffered.

Now injuries cannot excuse the way the players’ performed in the defeats to Doncaster, Ipswich, Bolton and Bournemouth.

Nor should they detract from the fact there have been times this season when more senior managers have used their time-served experience to get one over Gary Bowyer.

But there is no doubt in my mind that the gap to the play-off places would be shorter than eight points if Bowyer had been able to select a settled side on a regular basis – and in particular a settled midfield.

You’re not telling me Rovers would not have picked up more points if Ben Marshall, Corry Evans, Tom Cairney, Jason Lowe and Craig Conway had played together more often.

Of that quintet only Evans and Conway are fully fit going into this Saturday’s visit of runaway leaders Leicester to Ewood.

Defeat would leave Rovers needing to win six and draw one of their 10 remaining games to equal the points needed to finish sixth last season (68).

While not impossible it would be a tall order seeing as they are yet to string together more than two victories all season.

But even if Rovers do miss out on the play-offs Bowyer, through his largely excellent work in the transfer market, has formed the basis of a team that should be capable of making a proper push next season.

Throw the aforementioned Marshall, Evans, Cairney, Lowe and Conway alongside Paul Robinson, Grant Hanley, Matt Kilgallon, Tommy Spurr and Jordan Rhodes and you are looking at a strong starting XI for the future.

The right-back position still seems very much up for grabs as neither Adam Henley nor Todd Kane have done enough to nail it down.

That much was clear at Huddersfield on Saturday when Bowyer chose to play Lowe there.

But you all know what happened next? Lowe got injured.

Bowyer, to his credit, has never moaned about his lot when many other managers in his situation would have been quick to do so.

But privately he must rue Rovers’ misfortune.

As he will know, with his best players to pick from, his side may not remain what they have been since that opening day draw at Derby.

Consistently inconsistent.

Comments (16)

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3:15pm Thu 20 Mar 14

bburnrover says...

I still feel the aforementioned players aren't as good ,excluding Rhodes and Robison, as their counterparts at Leicester so we need better players and should not be satisfied with the squad we had this season.
I still feel the aforementioned players aren't as good ,excluding Rhodes and Robison, as their counterparts at Leicester so we need better players and should not be satisfied with the squad we had this season. bburnrover
  • Score: -1

3:31pm Thu 20 Mar 14

TurfMoorTom says...

Give them all chance to grow together and support your team. The nucleus of a strong squad and manager is there. If you want everything quickly, here and now, then its also possible to lose it all quickly by the same token.
Give them all chance to grow together and support your team. The nucleus of a strong squad and manager is there. If you want everything quickly, here and now, then its also possible to lose it all quickly by the same token. TurfMoorTom
  • Score: 6

3:42pm Thu 20 Mar 14

Super_Clarets says...

Whinge, whinge, moan, moan. Another day another sob story from the no-dads.

You started the season with a squad of 35 players and you were confidently saying that your large squad would provide cover for all eventualities whilst Burnley's smaller, inferior squad would be decimated when injuries and suspensions hit.

What happened there then?

What happened to your big squad of quality players?

More to the point why are we 10 points clear in 2nd place while you clowns are adrift in a sea of mediocrity way down there in 10th place?
Whinge, whinge, moan, moan. Another day another sob story from the no-dads. You started the season with a squad of 35 players and you were confidently saying that your large squad would provide cover for all eventualities whilst Burnley's smaller, inferior squad would be decimated when injuries and suspensions hit. What happened there then? What happened to your big squad of quality players? More to the point why are we 10 points clear in 2nd place while you clowns are adrift in a sea of mediocrity way down there in 10th place? Super_Clarets
  • Score: -8

4:29pm Thu 20 Mar 14

Harwoodstblue says...

bburnrover wrote:
I still feel the aforementioned players aren't as good ,excluding Rhodes and Robison, as their counterparts at Leicester so we need better players and should not be satisfied with the squad we had this season.
Two years ago Leicester were a 'new young team' but look at them now.
This article sums the season up perfectly and he's got it spot on.
Too many changes in the last two years means we could not find any consistency but it will come, imo.
Forget injuries, every team gets them but it's swings and roundabouts. Our luck will change.
[quote][p][bold]bburnrover[/bold] wrote: I still feel the aforementioned players aren't as good ,excluding Rhodes and Robison, as their counterparts at Leicester so we need better players and should not be satisfied with the squad we had this season.[/p][/quote]Two years ago Leicester were a 'new young team' but look at them now. This article sums the season up perfectly and he's got it spot on. Too many changes in the last two years means we could not find any consistency but it will come, imo. Forget injuries, every team gets them but it's swings and roundabouts. Our luck will change. Harwoodstblue
  • Score: 6

4:56pm Thu 20 Mar 14

Stretch_22 says...

Super_Clarets wrote:
Whinge, whinge, moan, moan. Another day another sob story from the no-dads.

You started the season with a squad of 35 players and you were confidently saying that your large squad would provide cover for all eventualities whilst Burnley's smaller, inferior squad would be decimated when injuries and suspensions hit.

What happened there then?

What happened to your big squad of quality players?

More to the point why are we 10 points clear in 2nd place while you clowns are adrift in a sea of mediocrity way down there in 10th place?
Still struggling to understand your obsession with Rovers...
[quote][p][bold]Super_Clarets[/bold] wrote: Whinge, whinge, moan, moan. Another day another sob story from the no-dads. You started the season with a squad of 35 players and you were confidently saying that your large squad would provide cover for all eventualities whilst Burnley's smaller, inferior squad would be decimated when injuries and suspensions hit. What happened there then? What happened to your big squad of quality players? More to the point why are we 10 points clear in 2nd place while you clowns are adrift in a sea of mediocrity way down there in 10th place?[/p][/quote]Still struggling to understand your obsession with Rovers... Stretch_22
  • Score: 5

5:03pm Thu 20 Mar 14

ghost of sceptic says...

Without doubt i think Rovers would be in a playoff position had Bowyer been able to pick his strongest 11 every week, howver i feel he still does not know his best 11.
Without doubt i think Rovers would be in a playoff position had Bowyer been able to pick his strongest 11 every week, howver i feel he still does not know his best 11. ghost of sceptic
  • Score: 5

5:45pm Thu 20 Mar 14

French Rover says...

Thats just football - injuries to players are just one of many things that are almost impossible to control. Referees are another factor and of course luck is in there too. Must be so frustrating to have key players injured, dodgy refs and no luck - I think the Rovers and GB have had more than our fair share of all of these this season !
Thats just football - injuries to players are just one of many things that are almost impossible to control. Referees are another factor and of course luck is in there too. Must be so frustrating to have key players injured, dodgy refs and no luck - I think the Rovers and GB have had more than our fair share of all of these this season ! French Rover
  • Score: 7

7:11pm Thu 20 Mar 14

Tugay's Understudy says...

As soon as Bowyer stops playing two holding midfielders, moves Cairney to CM with Evans and plays Lowe right back, then we will pick up more points. The fact that we have such a heavy reliance on Rhodes with our midfield contributing very little in terms of goals pays testament to GB's sit-back tactics not working. Keep the squad together next season, ship out more of the deadwood, forget signing players like Feeney and that dross and bring in a quality left back with a bit more pace than Spurr and then maybe we can start talking promotion. Look at the likes of Leicester and Burnley and the style of football they play. They don't sit back, they dominate teams. Bowyer needs to have a complete revamp of his tactics and play or else I can see another season of mediocrity. I stand by what I have said all along, give him til November but if it's the same as this season then maybe we need to look at making a change.
As soon as Bowyer stops playing two holding midfielders, moves Cairney to CM with Evans and plays Lowe right back, then we will pick up more points. The fact that we have such a heavy reliance on Rhodes with our midfield contributing very little in terms of goals pays testament to GB's sit-back tactics not working. Keep the squad together next season, ship out more of the deadwood, forget signing players like Feeney and that dross and bring in a quality left back with a bit more pace than Spurr and then maybe we can start talking promotion. Look at the likes of Leicester and Burnley and the style of football they play. They don't sit back, they dominate teams. Bowyer needs to have a complete revamp of his tactics and play or else I can see another season of mediocrity. I stand by what I have said all along, give him til November but if it's the same as this season then maybe we need to look at making a change. Tugay's Understudy
  • Score: 3

7:53pm Thu 20 Mar 14

MattNewcastle says...

Tugay's Understudy wrote:
As soon as Bowyer stops playing two holding midfielders, moves Cairney to CM with Evans and plays Lowe right back, then we will pick up more points. The fact that we have such a heavy reliance on Rhodes with our midfield contributing very little in terms of goals pays testament to GB's sit-back tactics not working. Keep the squad together next season, ship out more of the deadwood, forget signing players like Feeney and that dross and bring in a quality left back with a bit more pace than Spurr and then maybe we can start talking promotion. Look at the likes of Leicester and Burnley and the style of football they play. They don't sit back, they dominate teams. Bowyer needs to have a complete revamp of his tactics and play or else I can see another season of mediocrity. I stand by what I have said all along, give him til November but if it's the same as this season then maybe we need to look at making a change.
He is not capable of doing so

He would not know the first thing about pressing the opposition playing a higher line of defence etc

Poor set up of the team in almost all games

No idea of timely substitutions all reactive

He is not up to it
[quote][p][bold]Tugay's Understudy[/bold] wrote: As soon as Bowyer stops playing two holding midfielders, moves Cairney to CM with Evans and plays Lowe right back, then we will pick up more points. The fact that we have such a heavy reliance on Rhodes with our midfield contributing very little in terms of goals pays testament to GB's sit-back tactics not working. Keep the squad together next season, ship out more of the deadwood, forget signing players like Feeney and that dross and bring in a quality left back with a bit more pace than Spurr and then maybe we can start talking promotion. Look at the likes of Leicester and Burnley and the style of football they play. They don't sit back, they dominate teams. Bowyer needs to have a complete revamp of his tactics and play or else I can see another season of mediocrity. I stand by what I have said all along, give him til November but if it's the same as this season then maybe we need to look at making a change.[/p][/quote]He is not capable of doing so He would not know the first thing about pressing the opposition playing a higher line of defence etc Poor set up of the team in almost all games No idea of timely substitutions all reactive He is not up to it MattNewcastle
  • Score: -8

10:54pm Thu 20 Mar 14

andyproc says...

Much as it pains to say the blueprint for promotion has been set by Burnley this season. A settled side, a set pattern of plat allied to having Lady Luck means a successful season has been enjoyed by Burnley. We have a problem at right back which I believe Lowe may be the answer to. The more often than not we line up Robinson, Lowe, Spurr,Killgallon, Hanley. Conway, Evans, Cairney,Marshall,Rho
des and Gestede the better. As long as form, suspensions, injuries an Lady Luck allow this must be out starting eleven. We play this side we have more than enough to look at the play offs as a bare minimum. When changes are required we put players into the system and day in day out we work on the system to ensure everybody knows the pattern of play.
Much as it pains to say the blueprint for promotion has been set by Burnley this season. A settled side, a set pattern of plat allied to having Lady Luck means a successful season has been enjoyed by Burnley. We have a problem at right back which I believe Lowe may be the answer to. The more often than not we line up Robinson, Lowe, Spurr,Killgallon, Hanley. Conway, Evans, Cairney,Marshall,Rho des and Gestede the better. As long as form, suspensions, injuries an Lady Luck allow this must be out starting eleven. We play this side we have more than enough to look at the play offs as a bare minimum. When changes are required we put players into the system and day in day out we work on the system to ensure everybody knows the pattern of play. andyproc
  • Score: 1

11:00pm Thu 20 Mar 14

owd nick says...

MattNewcastle wrote:
Tugay's Understudy wrote:
As soon as Bowyer stops playing two holding midfielders, moves Cairney to CM with Evans and plays Lowe right back, then we will pick up more points. The fact that we have such a heavy reliance on Rhodes with our midfield contributing very little in terms of goals pays testament to GB's sit-back tactics not working. Keep the squad together next season, ship out more of the deadwood, forget signing players like Feeney and that dross and bring in a quality left back with a bit more pace than Spurr and then maybe we can start talking promotion. Look at the likes of Leicester and Burnley and the style of football they play. They don't sit back, they dominate teams. Bowyer needs to have a complete revamp of his tactics and play or else I can see another season of mediocrity. I stand by what I have said all along, give him til November but if it's the same as this season then maybe we need to look at making a change.
He is not capable of doing so

He would not know the first thing about pressing the opposition playing a higher line of defence etc

Poor set up of the team in almost all games

No idea of timely substitutions all reactive

He is not up to it
He's learning.
[quote][p][bold]MattNewcastle[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Tugay's Understudy[/bold] wrote: As soon as Bowyer stops playing two holding midfielders, moves Cairney to CM with Evans and plays Lowe right back, then we will pick up more points. The fact that we have such a heavy reliance on Rhodes with our midfield contributing very little in terms of goals pays testament to GB's sit-back tactics not working. Keep the squad together next season, ship out more of the deadwood, forget signing players like Feeney and that dross and bring in a quality left back with a bit more pace than Spurr and then maybe we can start talking promotion. Look at the likes of Leicester and Burnley and the style of football they play. They don't sit back, they dominate teams. Bowyer needs to have a complete revamp of his tactics and play or else I can see another season of mediocrity. I stand by what I have said all along, give him til November but if it's the same as this season then maybe we need to look at making a change.[/p][/quote]He is not capable of doing so He would not know the first thing about pressing the opposition playing a higher line of defence etc Poor set up of the team in almost all games No idea of timely substitutions all reactive He is not up to it[/p][/quote]He's learning. owd nick
  • Score: 1

6:51am Fri 21 Mar 14

.Lancs _ Pensioner says...

owd nick

There you go again he's learning you toothlees mill hill gimp. Venkys love child.Bowyer is useless nice guy but not a manager.
owd nick There you go again he's learning you toothlees mill hill gimp. Venkys love child.Bowyer is useless nice guy but not a manager. .Lancs _ Pensioner
  • Score: -2

7:51am Fri 21 Mar 14

unclejacklegend says...

Super_Clarets wrote:
Whinge, whinge, moan, moan. Another day another sob story from the no-dads.

You started the season with a squad of 35 players and you were confidently saying that your large squad would provide cover for all eventualities whilst Burnley's smaller, inferior squad would be decimated when injuries and suspensions hit.

What happened there then?

What happened to your big squad of quality players?

More to the point why are we 10 points clear in 2nd place while you clowns are adrift in a sea of mediocrity way down there in 10th place?
Because we were taken over by a bunch of idiots with no knowledge of football who sacked one of the best budget managers in the country replaced him with a d1ckhead who took us directly into a relegation battle. Then they started selling all of our best players or freezing them out for daring speak out against the regime. They refused to sack him the manager even when he had got us relegated after almost doing so in his first season. Then the owners let him blow our first parachute payment on £30,000 a week contracts for several players who blatantly couldn't be arsed playing football, some of which we are still stuck with. Then the owners appointed a so called global advisor who couldn't advise because he knew jack about football and was the most embarrassing man ever to be associated with our club. When the owners finally did decide to force d1ckhead out he was replaced by several inexperienced managers who almost got us relegated again. Now we are trying to stabilise the club without the luxury of the parachute payments that other clubs get as we have used them and more paying up the £30,000 a week contracts that were handed out like free sweets not to mention the ridiculous managerial appointments that need accounting for. That's why we are in 10th position and not challenging at the top or still in the prem. can't believe you have let it all slip your mind so soon, talk about short memories of football fans. Right, I'm off to WORK. Scrounger.
[quote][p][bold]Super_Clarets[/bold] wrote: Whinge, whinge, moan, moan. Another day another sob story from the no-dads. You started the season with a squad of 35 players and you were confidently saying that your large squad would provide cover for all eventualities whilst Burnley's smaller, inferior squad would be decimated when injuries and suspensions hit. What happened there then? What happened to your big squad of quality players? More to the point why are we 10 points clear in 2nd place while you clowns are adrift in a sea of mediocrity way down there in 10th place?[/p][/quote]Because we were taken over by a bunch of idiots with no knowledge of football who sacked one of the best budget managers in the country replaced him with a d1ckhead who took us directly into a relegation battle. Then they started selling all of our best players or freezing them out for daring speak out against the regime. They refused to sack him the manager even when he had got us relegated after almost doing so in his first season. Then the owners let him blow our first parachute payment on £30,000 a week contracts for several players who blatantly couldn't be arsed playing football, some of which we are still stuck with. Then the owners appointed a so called global advisor who couldn't advise because he knew jack about football and was the most embarrassing man ever to be associated with our club. When the owners finally did decide to force d1ckhead out he was replaced by several inexperienced managers who almost got us relegated again. Now we are trying to stabilise the club without the luxury of the parachute payments that other clubs get as we have used them and more paying up the £30,000 a week contracts that were handed out like free sweets not to mention the ridiculous managerial appointments that need accounting for. That's why we are in 10th position and not challenging at the top or still in the prem. can't believe you have let it all slip your mind so soon, talk about short memories of football fans. Right, I'm off to WORK. Scrounger. unclejacklegend
  • Score: 0

8:46am Fri 21 Mar 14

greenscreener says...

andyproc wrote:
Much as it pains to say the blueprint for promotion has been set by Burnley this season. A settled side, a set pattern of plat allied to having Lady Luck means a successful season has been enjoyed by Burnley. We have a problem at right back which I believe Lowe may be the answer to. The more often than not we line up Robinson, Lowe, Spurr,Killgallon, Hanley. Conway, Evans, Cairney,Marshall,Rho

des and Gestede the better. As long as form, suspensions, injuries an Lady Luck allow this must be out starting eleven. We play this side we have more than enough to look at the play offs as a bare minimum. When changes are required we put players into the system and day in day out we work on the system to ensure everybody knows the pattern of play.
Good reasoned opinion there.

Hey Bazzer, what do you think of that line up, probably the best eleven from the current squad, eh ?
[quote][p][bold]andyproc[/bold] wrote: Much as it pains to say the blueprint for promotion has been set by Burnley this season. A settled side, a set pattern of plat allied to having Lady Luck means a successful season has been enjoyed by Burnley. We have a problem at right back which I believe Lowe may be the answer to. The more often than not we line up Robinson, Lowe, Spurr,Killgallon, Hanley. Conway, Evans, Cairney,Marshall,Rho des and Gestede the better. As long as form, suspensions, injuries an Lady Luck allow this must be out starting eleven. We play this side we have more than enough to look at the play offs as a bare minimum. When changes are required we put players into the system and day in day out we work on the system to ensure everybody knows the pattern of play.[/p][/quote]Good reasoned opinion there. Hey Bazzer, what do you think of that line up, probably the best eleven from the current squad, eh ? greenscreener
  • Score: 1

10:06am Fri 21 Mar 14

French Rover says...

greenscreener wrote:
andyproc wrote:
Much as it pains to say the blueprint for promotion has been set by Burnley this season. A settled side, a set pattern of plat allied to having Lady Luck means a successful season has been enjoyed by Burnley. We have a problem at right back which I believe Lowe may be the answer to. The more often than not we line up Robinson, Lowe, Spurr,Killgallon, Hanley. Conway, Evans, Cairney,Marshall,Rho


des and Gestede the better. As long as form, suspensions, injuries an Lady Luck allow this must be out starting eleven. We play this side we have more than enough to look at the play offs as a bare minimum. When changes are required we put players into the system and day in day out we work on the system to ensure everybody knows the pattern of play.
Good reasoned opinion there.

Hey Bazzer, what do you think of that line up, probably the best eleven from the current squad, eh ?
Yes I agree that this line-up would probably get us into the play-offs, but it still seems just a bit `flat` with little flair or any outstnading player which most successful teams have.

Now just imagine what a `controlled` Reuben Rochina could add to the team. Class, inspiration, great footballing skills and plenty of goals from midfield. Then I would say we could have a decent promotion/championsh
ip winning side. So I am going to start a new campaign called BRB (Bring Rochiina Back)! Anybody want to enroll?
[quote][p][bold]greenscreener[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]andyproc[/bold] wrote: Much as it pains to say the blueprint for promotion has been set by Burnley this season. A settled side, a set pattern of plat allied to having Lady Luck means a successful season has been enjoyed by Burnley. We have a problem at right back which I believe Lowe may be the answer to. The more often than not we line up Robinson, Lowe, Spurr,Killgallon, Hanley. Conway, Evans, Cairney,Marshall,Rho des and Gestede the better. As long as form, suspensions, injuries an Lady Luck allow this must be out starting eleven. We play this side we have more than enough to look at the play offs as a bare minimum. When changes are required we put players into the system and day in day out we work on the system to ensure everybody knows the pattern of play.[/p][/quote]Good reasoned opinion there. Hey Bazzer, what do you think of that line up, probably the best eleven from the current squad, eh ?[/p][/quote]Yes I agree that this line-up would probably get us into the play-offs, but it still seems just a bit `flat` with little flair or any outstnading player which most successful teams have. Now just imagine what a `controlled` Reuben Rochina could add to the team. Class, inspiration, great footballing skills and plenty of goals from midfield. Then I would say we could have a decent promotion/championsh ip winning side. So I am going to start a new campaign called BRB (Bring Rochiina Back)! Anybody want to enroll? French Rover
  • Score: 3

12:45pm Fri 21 Mar 14

greenscreener says...

French Rover wrote:
greenscreener wrote:
andyproc wrote:
Much as it pains to say the blueprint for promotion has been set by Burnley this season. A settled side, a set pattern of plat allied to having Lady Luck means a successful season has been enjoyed by Burnley. We have a problem at right back which I believe Lowe may be the answer to. The more often than not we line up Robinson, Lowe, Spurr,Killgallon, Hanley. Conway, Evans, Cairney,Marshall,Rho



des and Gestede the better. As long as form, suspensions, injuries an Lady Luck allow this must be out starting eleven. We play this side we have more than enough to look at the play offs as a bare minimum. When changes are required we put players into the system and day in day out we work on the system to ensure everybody knows the pattern of play.
Good reasoned opinion there.

Hey Bazzer, what do you think of that line up, probably the best eleven from the current squad, eh ?
Yes I agree that this line-up would probably get us into the play-offs, but it still seems just a bit `flat` with little flair or any outstnading player which most successful teams have.

Now just imagine what a `controlled` Reuben Rochina could add to the team. Class, inspiration, great footballing skills and plenty of goals from midfield. Then I would say we could have a decent promotion/championsh

ip winning side. So I am going to start a new campaign called BRB (Bring Rochiina Back)! Anybody want to enroll?
Trouble is frenchy, if you rely on one show pony he's got to be playing the majority of the time, and this is a hard league. I like Ruben but he's not proved good enough to build a team around, I'd like to see him in the squad though because he does offer something different.
[quote][p][bold]French Rover[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]greenscreener[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]andyproc[/bold] wrote: Much as it pains to say the blueprint for promotion has been set by Burnley this season. A settled side, a set pattern of plat allied to having Lady Luck means a successful season has been enjoyed by Burnley. We have a problem at right back which I believe Lowe may be the answer to. The more often than not we line up Robinson, Lowe, Spurr,Killgallon, Hanley. Conway, Evans, Cairney,Marshall,Rho des and Gestede the better. As long as form, suspensions, injuries an Lady Luck allow this must be out starting eleven. We play this side we have more than enough to look at the play offs as a bare minimum. When changes are required we put players into the system and day in day out we work on the system to ensure everybody knows the pattern of play.[/p][/quote]Good reasoned opinion there. Hey Bazzer, what do you think of that line up, probably the best eleven from the current squad, eh ?[/p][/quote]Yes I agree that this line-up would probably get us into the play-offs, but it still seems just a bit `flat` with little flair or any outstnading player which most successful teams have. Now just imagine what a `controlled` Reuben Rochina could add to the team. Class, inspiration, great footballing skills and plenty of goals from midfield. Then I would say we could have a decent promotion/championsh ip winning side. So I am going to start a new campaign called BRB (Bring Rochiina Back)! Anybody want to enroll?[/p][/quote]Trouble is frenchy, if you rely on one show pony he's got to be playing the majority of the time, and this is a hard league. I like Ruben but he's not proved good enough to build a team around, I'd like to see him in the squad though because he does offer something different. greenscreener
  • Score: 2

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