GARY Bowyer says Blackburn Rovers face a ‘big summer’ as they bid to avoid financial fair play sanctions in January – but he expects less transfer activity than a year ago.
The Rovers boss knows he faces a delicate balancing act this summer as he bids to reduce the club’s wage bill again, while bringing in players to improve results.
Rovers have already put six players – Leon Best, DJ Campbell, Dickson Etuhu, David Goodwillie, Alex Marrow and Jordan Slew – on the transfer list and must move on some of their high earners before the Football League’s new financial fair play regulations come into force.
Clubs falling foul of the rules face a transfer embargo from January onwards, and Rovers have been shedding players for some time in preparation for the new regulations.
“It’s going to be a big summer for us because obviously financial fair play comes in,” Bowyer said.
“We’re aware of what we’ve got to do and we’re trying to implement that now.
“We’ve released quite a few players throughout the course of the year, I think it’s been 26 in total.
“We’ve made inroads on that wage bill but we’re not kidding ourselves, we know it’s still got to be addressed.
“But at the same time we’ve got to make sure we’re still competitive, as we were last season.”
Discussions are ongoing between clubs and the Football League over possible changes to the rules, but as things stand Rovers will face a transfer embargo in January if they post a loss of more than £3m for the 2013/14 – with a further £3m loss permitted via shareholder investments.
Rovers have significantly reduced their wage bill by moving on the likes of Danny Murphy, Nuno Gomes, Morten Gamst Pedersen, Gael Givet and Scott Dann in the past 12 months.
But the club announced a pre-tax loss of £36.5m for the financial year ending June 30, 2013. The club’s wage bill stood at £36m at that stage.
Bowyer still wants to add players this summer but does not expect the same number of signings as 12 months ago, when the newly appointed manager was reshaping his squad to fit his own ethos.
“Last season I think we brought 14 in during the summer and I don’t think we’ll be doing that again,” he told Rovers Player.
“But we fell short of the play-offs so we feel we need to add a little bit more.”
Bowyer’s plans for next season are already being formulated and he hopes the positivity of a 12-match unbeaten run at the end of the 2013/14 campaign can be retained.
“I’d like to think there’s a lot more positivity about the place at the moment,” he said.
“We still feel there’s a hell of a lot to do both on and off the pitch.
“We’ve laid the foundations for things to progress and hopefully we can do that this summer and go again.
“Going into the final game the message to the players was just win the game.
“It was important because they’re away on holiday now with that feelgood factor, with that 12-game unbeaten run.
“I’ve had four days away with my wife so the season has started now for me.
“As soon as the season finished you’re straight back at it looking at the start of the next one coming.”