BLACKBURN Rovers prepare for the final home game of 2012 struggling in the Championship table and wondering where their big summer plans went wrong.
Even a victory against Brighton this afternoon won’t be able to disguise the fact that Rovers need reinforcements in the January transfer window – but that will also surely mean departures as well.
Having committed to huge wages this summer for signings that have yet to work, Henning Berg will be preparing himself for a January balancing act as he looks to get the squad he needs.
Rovers signed 12 players in the January transfer window, of which one has so far proved a real success, and that disastrous few months of business is costing the club dear.
Without two new signings, at least, Rovers can forget any notion of challenging for a promotion spot but that is easier said than done having already stretched themselves financially to the limit.
GOALKEEPER Paul Robinson appears to be heading for the exit door in the January transfer window, leaving Blackburn with Jake Kean and Greg Sandomierski, who is a bit of an unknown quantity, while Kean has shown glimpses of real promise but, if Robinson leaves, Rovers surely need a new number one.
Brad Friedel would appear the perfect solution and, as well as being a solid first choice stopper, he could be a mentor for Kean and a future coach for the club.
DEFENCE A lot has been said about Rovers’ defensive inadequacies and there is no doubt at times this season individual performances have not been good enough.
A trio of Scott Dann, Grant Hanley and Gael Givet should be good enough for the Championship though, although there is the feeling they are one player light.
Portuguese defender Nuno Henrique was bizarrely brought to the club in the summer and has been nowhere near the first team squad.
Having him at Ewood Park and not involved is simply a waste of money and Rovers should look to take advantage of the interest there is in him, to free up space to bring in a no nonsense centre half.
Rovers are also short of a left back with Martin Olsson’s best position in left midfield. Gael Givet can play there but ideally a left back is needed in January.
Adam Henley has shown he is good enough at right back and, with Jason Lowe also more than capable there, Bradley Orr can be released from the wage bill permanently.
MIDFIELD BLACKBURN Rovers’ major weakness this season so far has been in the centre of midfield as they continue to lack a tough tackling, combative player.
Danny Murphy and Dickson Etuhu were brought in the summer, on big wages, and were heralded as the answer to the problems in the middle of the pitch.
As of yet neither have done anywhere near enough to suggest they can spearhead a promotion push but Rovers have very little option at the moment.
Jason Lowe is energetic enough in the centre but you get the feeling Rovers desperately need a tough-tackling midfielder quickly.
If Morten Gamst Pedersen is going to continue to be ignored he needs to be allowed to leave, while taking advantage of interest from abroad in Mauro Formica could also free up some funds next month.
Josh King could be the solution to the lack of a right winger, while the likes of Simon Vukcevic and the Olsson twins provide enough cover on the left.
STRIKER Jordan Rhodes will score goals in given the chance for Blackburn Rovers but at the moment the service from midfield is minimal.
Colin Kazim-Richards has shown in patches he could be a dangerous foil for Rhodes, but needs to be played in attack rather than wasted on the right wing.
David Goodwillie is available again in January and will get a chance but you get the feeling he is one player who needs to be released from the wage bill.
Leon Best is still waiting in the wings as he recovers from injury and could be a key player come February. The question is will it be too late?