Paul Wheelock column: Blackburn Rovers new boys have potential to give their boss a serious selection headache

Rovers new boys Shane Duffy, Jason Steele and Ryan Tunnicliffe all have the potential to improve Gary Bowyer’s first team squad

Rovers new boys Shane Duffy, Jason Steele and Ryan Tunnicliffe all have the potential to improve Gary Bowyer’s first team squad

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

ROVERS’ deadline day signings have the potential to give Gary Bowyer some serious selection dilemmas.

I use the word potential as it is too early to judge just how good, bad or indifferent Jason Steele, Shane Duffy and Ryan Tunnicliffe are going to be.

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But the early signs are promising.

All three fit the bill in the terms of the young and hungry ethos Bowyer has established at Rovers.

All three come with something to prove after being sidelined at their most recent clubs.

And all three come with Championship experience despite their relatively tender years.

That applies particularly to Steele.

The keeper made more than 130 Championship appearances before he turned 23 – and he would have gone on to make many more had new Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka not made the move to relegate Steele to his number three.

It was a decision which surprised Boro fans and no doubt the man himself – who not too long ago was being linked with a big money transfer to the Premier League.

Steele, now 24, has clearly come to Rovers to play.

That leaves Bowyer with a big decision to make.

Does he throw Steele straight into his starting line-up?

To do that he will have to drop Paul Robinson, the former England international who has just made his 200th appearance for the club.

It’s a real poser – as is the one he faces over who to select at centre back.

With captain Grant Hanley a certain starter, two of Duffy, Alex Baptiste and Matt Kilgallon are going to be disappointed.

The same can be said for some of the plethora of midfielders Bowyer has at his disposal after Tunnicliffe’s arrival.

After being down to the bare bones at Wolves on Saturday following the late withdrawal of three players, the Rovers boss now has real competition for places in the vast majority of positions across the park.

Up until the very last day of the window it looked as if Bowyer was going to be denied that luxury but the trio of last-minute incomings means it has been a good summer for Rovers.

Yes there are areas of their squad that, in an ideal world, will be addressed, and yes some of their rivals, with significantly more money to spend, look stronger.

But Rovers have boosted their numbers and, most importantly, kept hold of captain Hanley, Tom Cairney, Craig Conway, Rudy Gestede and Jordan Rhodes.

It is only going to get harder come January, when in all likelihood, the club will be placed under a transfer embargo.

One or two loans additions before then, therefore, would not go amiss.

But there is no reason now why Rovers cannot compete.

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