Paul Wheelock column: Regrets? Blackburn Rovers have had a few
NINETY eight days. That’s how long it is between the final day of this season and the opening day of the 2014/15 campaign.
That’s a hell of a long time to mull over any regrets.
No doubt the Rovers players already have a few.
The likes of Barnsley away, Brighton at home and, most recently, Sheffield Wednesday away were all massive opportunities missed.
But there will be more to add to that list if Rovers, who are now very much drinking in the last chance saloon, do not take their final shot at a top six spot.
As, going into the final four games of the season, the play-offs remain a possibility.
Admittedly a slim possibility, yet a possibility all the same.
And that is why Gary Bowyer’s side simply must pick themselves up after their hiccup at Hillsborough and take maximum points from their next three very winnable matches against Yeovil, Birmingham and Charlton.
Do that and they will better the points total Leicester achieved last season when finishing sixth (68) and, you would hope, leave them with something to play for against Wigan on the final day of the campaign.
But to do that they are going to have to bury the hoodoo that has hung over the club for more than six years.
You have to go back to January 2008 for the last time Rovers won three league matches in a row in a single season.
They have had five chances to do that this term – and never better than at Hillsborough on Saturday when they led Sheffield Wednesday 3-1 with less than 20 minutes play.
Many, including myself, have pointed to Jordan Rhodes’ miss four minutes from time as the turning point.
But on reflection, there was an equally telling incident in the lead up to Wednesday’s injury-time equaliser.
Michael Keane tried to play an ambitious pass out of defence when he should have retained possession or, at the absolute least, kicked the ball as far as down the line as possible.
It was a moment of inexperience that proved costly as, within seconds, the ball was in the back of the Rovers net.
You have to wonder whether it would have happened had the injured David Dunn been available to be brought off the bench like he had been in the 2-0 wins over QPR and Ipswich.
In those type of situations players of his experience keep the ball and help close a game out.
Are there enough of those players in the young and promising squad Rovers boss Bowyer has built?
Possibly not and that is something he may have to address in the summer.
But for now all the concentration must be on keeping this season alive. The summer is long enough already.
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