Paul Wheelock column: Rovers defence in need of reinforcements

This Is Lancashire: Grant Hanley is one of only four senior defenders on Rovers books Grant Hanley is one of only four senior defenders on Rovers books

IF Rovers started the season with the strikers and attacking midfielders they currently have at their disposal you would not find me complaining.

Jordan Rhodes and Rudy Gestede have the potential to be the most potent strike force in the country and now they have adequate back up in the shape of Chris Brown and Luke Varney.

Add Craig Conway and Ben Marshall whipping over crosses from the wings, the searing pace of Josh King and the creativity of Tom Cairney and it is clear that Gary Bowyer boasts the players capable of unlocking even the meanest of Championship defences.

It is the other end of the field that is more of a concern.

Not because Bowyer does not have good defenders to call on – it’s the lack of them that is the problem.

Watching the Rovers squad walk out on to the Brockhall training pitches on Friday for the first time since the start of pre-season it quickly became apparent the lack of cover the club has at the back.

With Markus Olsson out of contract and Michael Keane back at Manchester United there were just four what you would class as senior defenders on show – captain Grant Hanley, Matt Kilgallon, Tommy Spurr and Adam Henley.

Yes Josh Morris, Yann Songo’o and Jack O’Connell were also present.

But makeshift left back Morris is a loan target for Fleetwood while young centre backs Songo’o and O’Connell have yet to make a senior league appearance for the club.

Little wonder, then, that Bowyer has made new defenders his priority.

Ahead of another gruelling 46-game campaign, the numbers he is presently carrying will not be enough.

The good news is there is still another month until the big season opener and another three weeks after that until the transfer window closes.

But with parachute payments having halved and three more big earners having been paid off, Bowyer, like many managers in the Championship, is restricted in how many players he can bring in.

That’s why it would make sense to thrash out a new deal for Olsson.

While the left back is more than likely to start the season behind the dependable Spurr – for the second year running – it would be one less position for Bowyer to fill and it would allow him to focus all his efforts on bringing in a right back – ideally one who can also operate at centre half.

Keane, of course, would fit the bill nicely.

But even if Bowyer cannot tempt the United youngster back to Ewood Park for another loan spell he must try and attract a player of similar quality to ensure Rovers are good to go when the season begins.

Comments (8)

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3:35pm Thu 10 Jul 14

Whittle Wilky says...

Finally, the ones who should know are starting to say what all of the Blackburn end have known for the past season. We are **** poor in defence.

The weakness of henley was consistently exploited until thankfully he got injured. Hanleys temper gets him out of the picture too often. Spurr and Kilgallon isn't enough.

Drop Lowe to Right Back. (FFS keep Williamson locked away in Brockhall)

I know if we can keep attacking and put the opposition on the back foot all should be well. But heaven help us if they get a break.
Finally, the ones who should know are starting to say what all of the Blackburn end have known for the past season. We are **** poor in defence. The weakness of henley was consistently exploited until thankfully he got injured. Hanleys temper gets him out of the picture too often. Spurr and Kilgallon isn't enough. Drop Lowe to Right Back. (FFS keep Williamson locked away in Brockhall) I know if we can keep attacking and put the opposition on the back foot all should be well. But heaven help us if they get a break. Whittle Wilky
  • Score: 8

3:39pm Thu 10 Jul 14

GAZHAY says...

Nothing makes sense in offering Olsson a new deal. The only decent Olsson is the one that left. The one we kept hold of is simply not good enough.
New centre half and right back needed and some half decent cover at left back.
Nothing makes sense in offering Olsson a new deal. The only decent Olsson is the one that left. The one we kept hold of is simply not good enough. New centre half and right back needed and some half decent cover at left back. GAZHAY
  • Score: -2

3:54pm Thu 10 Jul 14

garyintandem says...

Robinson
Lowe
Killy
Hanley
Spurr
Conway
Evans
Cairney
Marshall
Gestede
Rhodes

Bring on Cardiff
Rovers:Championship Champions 2014-15
Robinson Lowe Killy Hanley Spurr Conway Evans Cairney Marshall Gestede Rhodes Bring on Cardiff Rovers:Championship Champions 2014-15 garyintandem
  • Score: 15

4:40pm Thu 10 Jul 14

J.C - Rishton says...

garyintandem wrote:
Robinson
Lowe
Killy
Hanley
Spurr
Conway
Evans
Cairney
Marshall
Gestede
Rhodes

Bring on Cardiff
Rovers:Championship Champions 2014-15
Good 1st team unfortunately we have no strength in depth.

Good to be positive Gary but you simply arnt looking at other clubs and their strength from 12-17. 1-11 we are strong - 12-17 we are REALLY weak - and 46 games is a long long season.

Also, are we going to keep Rhodes ? - the rumours coming out of Ewood is that really he would like to move, that he is unhappy that the owners have knocked back interest from other clubs at £8m and that if he is to stay he wants a £750,000 per year pay rise.

If Rhodes was to leave then your claim of "Rovers, championship champions 2014-15" might look a tad silly.
[quote][p][bold]garyintandem[/bold] wrote: Robinson Lowe Killy Hanley Spurr Conway Evans Cairney Marshall Gestede Rhodes Bring on Cardiff Rovers:Championship Champions 2014-15[/p][/quote]Good 1st team unfortunately we have no strength in depth. Good to be positive Gary but you simply arnt looking at other clubs and their strength from 12-17. 1-11 we are strong - 12-17 we are REALLY weak - and 46 games is a long long season. Also, are we going to keep Rhodes ? - the rumours coming out of Ewood is that really he would like to move, that he is unhappy that the owners have knocked back interest from other clubs at £8m and that if he is to stay he wants a £750,000 per year pay rise. If Rhodes was to leave then your claim of "Rovers, championship champions 2014-15" might look a tad silly. J.C - Rishton
  • Score: -4

5:41pm Thu 10 Jul 14

dazz750 says...

J.C - Rishton wrote:
garyintandem wrote:
Robinson
Lowe
Killy
Hanley
Spurr
Conway
Evans
Cairney
Marshall
Gestede
Rhodes

Bring on Cardiff
Rovers:Championship Champions 2014-15
Good 1st team unfortunately we have no strength in depth.

Good to be positive Gary but you simply arnt looking at other clubs and their strength from 12-17. 1-11 we are strong - 12-17 we are REALLY weak - and 46 games is a long long season.

Also, are we going to keep Rhodes ? - the rumours coming out of Ewood is that really he would like to move, that he is unhappy that the owners have knocked back interest from other clubs at £8m and that if he is to stay he wants a £750,000 per year pay rise.

If Rhodes was to leave then your claim of "Rovers, championship champions 2014-15" might look a tad silly.
Jordan Rhodes just signed 2 year extension
[quote][p][bold]J.C - Rishton[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]garyintandem[/bold] wrote: Robinson Lowe Killy Hanley Spurr Conway Evans Cairney Marshall Gestede Rhodes Bring on Cardiff Rovers:Championship Champions 2014-15[/p][/quote]Good 1st team unfortunately we have no strength in depth. Good to be positive Gary but you simply arnt looking at other clubs and their strength from 12-17. 1-11 we are strong - 12-17 we are REALLY weak - and 46 games is a long long season. Also, are we going to keep Rhodes ? - the rumours coming out of Ewood is that really he would like to move, that he is unhappy that the owners have knocked back interest from other clubs at £8m and that if he is to stay he wants a £750,000 per year pay rise. If Rhodes was to leave then your claim of "Rovers, championship champions 2014-15" might look a tad silly.[/p][/quote]Jordan Rhodes just signed 2 year extension dazz750
  • Score: 9

5:57pm Thu 10 Jul 14

roverstid says...

J.C - Rishton wrote:
garyintandem wrote:
Robinson
Lowe
Killy
Hanley
Spurr
Conway
Evans
Cairney
Marshall
Gestede
Rhodes

Bring on Cardiff
Rovers:Championship Champions 2014-15
Good 1st team unfortunately we have no strength in depth.

Good to be positive Gary but you simply arnt looking at other clubs and their strength from 12-17. 1-11 we are strong - 12-17 we are REALLY weak - and 46 games is a long long season.

Also, are we going to keep Rhodes ? - the rumours coming out of Ewood is that really he would like to move, that he is unhappy that the owners have knocked back interest from other clubs at £8m and that if he is to stay he wants a £750,000 per year pay rise.

If Rhodes was to leave then your claim of "Rovers, championship champions 2014-15" might look a tad silly.
Guess you know about Rhodes now JC. :)

Burnley have also dazzled by reaching as far down as Tamorth for their latest bargain.
[quote][p][bold]J.C - Rishton[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]garyintandem[/bold] wrote: Robinson Lowe Killy Hanley Spurr Conway Evans Cairney Marshall Gestede Rhodes Bring on Cardiff Rovers:Championship Champions 2014-15[/p][/quote]Good 1st team unfortunately we have no strength in depth. Good to be positive Gary but you simply arnt looking at other clubs and their strength from 12-17. 1-11 we are strong - 12-17 we are REALLY weak - and 46 games is a long long season. Also, are we going to keep Rhodes ? - the rumours coming out of Ewood is that really he would like to move, that he is unhappy that the owners have knocked back interest from other clubs at £8m and that if he is to stay he wants a £750,000 per year pay rise. If Rhodes was to leave then your claim of "Rovers, championship champions 2014-15" might look a tad silly.[/p][/quote]Guess you know about Rhodes now JC. :) Burnley have also dazzled by reaching as far down as Tamorth for their latest bargain. roverstid
  • Score: 6

7:08pm Thu 10 Jul 14

Captain Dreckley says...

Rovers defence in need of reinforcement - and so say all of us Paul.
But keep Marcus, seriously not. In essence we have Spurr and Hanley who are championship top drawer standard but Killgannon and Hanley just arnt at that standard and are cover for a first choice back 4. If GB does nothing else before the season starts get us an experienced centre half to develop Hanley as he has massive potential but is a long way from the finished product and a right back the same calibre as Spurr then we can really believe this will be the season we go back where we belong.
Rovers defence in need of reinforcement - and so say all of us Paul. But keep Marcus, seriously not. In essence we have Spurr and Hanley who are championship top drawer standard but Killgannon and Hanley just arnt at that standard and are cover for a first choice back 4. If GB does nothing else before the season starts get us an experienced centre half to develop Hanley as he has massive potential but is a long way from the finished product and a right back the same calibre as Spurr then we can really believe this will be the season we go back where we belong. Captain Dreckley
  • Score: 7

9:26am Fri 11 Jul 14

fitz808 says...

Captain Dreckley wrote:
Rovers defence in need of reinforcement - and so say all of us Paul.
But keep Marcus, seriously not. In essence we have Spurr and Hanley who are championship top drawer standard but Killgannon and Hanley just arnt at that standard and are cover for a first choice back 4. If GB does nothing else before the season starts get us an experienced centre half to develop Hanley as he has massive potential but is a long way from the finished product and a right back the same calibre as Spurr then we can really believe this will be the season we go back where we belong.
i think kilgallon was probably our best CB last year. don't write off his experience so easily. at this point in time, i'd have him ahead of hanley in my starting XI
i'd also be getting lowe in training at RB, firstly because until we have cover, he's a genuinely viable option, and secondly because i think it's his best position.
[quote][p][bold]Captain Dreckley[/bold] wrote: Rovers defence in need of reinforcement - and so say all of us Paul. But keep Marcus, seriously not. In essence we have Spurr and Hanley who are championship top drawer standard but Killgannon and Hanley just arnt at that standard and are cover for a first choice back 4. If GB does nothing else before the season starts get us an experienced centre half to develop Hanley as he has massive potential but is a long way from the finished product and a right back the same calibre as Spurr then we can really believe this will be the season we go back where we belong.[/p][/quote]i think kilgallon was probably our best CB last year. don't write off his experience so easily. at this point in time, i'd have him ahead of hanley in my starting XI i'd also be getting lowe in training at RB, firstly because until we have cover, he's a genuinely viable option, and secondly because i think it's his best position. fitz808
  • Score: 4
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